OUT & ABOUT: T.I. Meet & Greet at Villa Chicago

Nervousness ran through my body as I anxiously awaited to meet T.I., also known as the rap King of the South, at the Villa and DTLR stores Monday on the South Side of Chicago. T.I. came to sign autographs for the release of his new album. As I waited in line to meet the rap superstar, I talked with some of his fans, including an elderly Caucasian woman that was wearing a T.I. shirt.

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To my surprise, she knew everything about T.I., including the name of his new album “Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head,” which will be released in stores next week. She knew all about his show, “T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle” and also knew the names of his children- Clifford “King” Joseph Harris III, Major Philant Harris and Lelah Amore Harris, all of which were born to his wife Tameka “Tiny” Cottle. She also knew about his children he had with his ex-girlfriend Lashon Dixon, which are Messiah Ya’ Majesty and Domani Uriah. She even knew about T.I.’s stepdaughter, Zonnique Pullins, and her teenage girl music group “OMG Girlz.”

This lady was the most hyped up fan in line, and was also the only Caucasian in line. She even tried to play me in front of other fans, saying I wasn’t a real T.I. fan because I didn’t know the names of his children.

As the line started moving, the promoters for the event (WGCI, Power 92, Villa) handed out pieces of tissue to crying fans, even though T.I. wasn’t there yet. The Caucasian lady kept yelling, “T.I.! That’s my man!” Fans were given wrist bands and the album art from his CD for him to sign.

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I knew T.I. had finally arrived when I heard about a hundred female voices screaming so loud that it pierced my eardrum. The promoters let T.I. take pics with ten fans for each photo. After the photo-op, T.I. and his fans walked to the DTLR store, which is right across the street from Villa. There, T.I. signed autographs and talked with his fans. He had a calm, relaxed demeanor. He wore a  red and black Chicago bulls cap with black shades.

When I finally got to meet him, he said, “What’s up big homie?” I told him that he was my favorite rapper (he’s really not, I just told him that to boost his ego lol) and that this album “Paper Trail” was my favorite album. He said “Thanks, appreciate it man,” and that was it.

I kept the convo short and simple because T.I. seems like the type that will put you in check really quick if you don’t know what you’re talking about or if you offend him.

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Even though he’s not my favorite rapper, I believe T.I. is the realest rapper out there. I also am a fan of his acting. I remember when his debut movie “ATL” and album “KING” came out in 2006; that was a time where I felt like he was unstoppable and at his peak. At the event, he announced that he will be starring in an upcoming movie called “Identity Theft,” which is a comedy with Melissa McCarthy from Bridesmaids and Jason Bateman. Fans can expect the movie to be released March 2013.

-Nick Samuel

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