Editor’s note: With live music and concert reviews on hold due to COVID-19, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is focusing on how Georgia musicians are spending their time in our new feature, Mic Check.
It doesn’t matter that Clifford “T.I.” Harris is a multi-platinum recording artist, reality TV star and media mogul.
He has to stay rooted during the coronavirus pandemic, too.
The Atlanta hip-hop star, 39, with the made-for-TV family - the third season of “T.I. & Tiny: Friends & Family Hustle,” premieres at 9 p.m. April 13 on VH1 – is sanguine about holing up in his Stockbridge home with his family.
For a guy who is always hopping among projects - and spearheading philanthropic efforts through his Harris Community Works organization – the restless T.I. looks to utilize his forced downtime productively and recognizes that self-sacrifice is needed right now.
Here is what he had to say during a phone chat on Wednesday.
Q: How have you been spending your time at home?
A: We've been playing cards and games and reading and catching up on some TV series. Writing and creating. Catching up on lots of phone calls and emails.
Q: Which series have you been watching?
A: Let's see…the "Tiger King," "Contagion," a lot of "Boss Baby," "Super Monsters," "Garfield," the "Blood Father."
Q: What did you think of “Tiger King”?
A: I mean, who knew all this **** was going on? Who knew? If I ever come up missing and my people that I was dealing with had 40 acres and tigers and you can't find me, please… check the tiger!
Q: What do you miss the most right now?
A: Life is a series of adjustments, so I ain't even really tripping. As far as I am concerned, it's a nuisance, but for the greater good of society and the community, it isn't bad enough to complain about. Putting my trivial leisurely activities above the good of the community is nothing. But I do appreciate my daily run to the store to grab food, and I got my car washed last week.
Q: Who have you been listening to while hanging at home?
A: The Jay Electronica project, I love. Roddy Ricch. I like JackBoys, Casino. I listen to a lot of old stuff, too, like Otis Redding.
Q: Did you dig out some Bill Withers last week?
A: Ah, yeah. What a tragic loss. He's probably one of the most underrated of his era. For someone who had lived as long as he did and had the significance to culture, you feel he would have been a little more appreciated.
Q: So what’s your advice for people stuck inside?
A: Utilize your time wisely. You should improve yourself. Catch up on things. It's the perfect time for change. A lot of people have things they feel they should change about themselves and they say, 'Hey God, give me a sign.' Well, here's your sign.
Q: You’re always on the front lines of charity and helping. Are you thinking about ways to help the community now?
A: To be honest, I'm always available. I'm just trying to find out where the most significant needs are, and the most substantiated organizations. I don't want to just throw money at something without knowing the source. But I will say this, it's a blessing to be able to be a blessing to others.
Q: How is it going at Super Sound Studios (T.I. purchased the Atlanta studio last year and records his “expediTIously” podcast there, which also has a twice-weekly YouTube version)?
A: We go to the studio from time to time to make sure everything is intact. It was a dream to be able to purchase that. It played a pivotal part in my career. I recorded there a lot for the "No Mercy" album. I camped out there! And we did the "Trouble Man" project there. Me and Young Thug recorded in that studio, the first day I met him. It's one of the best rooms in the city, I have to say. We want to be a multimedia one-stop shop.
Q: You and Killer Mike were rolling with plans to re-open Bankhead Seafood by next year. What’s going on with that now?
A: Everything came to a screeching halt is all! But we're set to hit the ground running. This just gave us more time to enhance our strategy. As soon as things commence, we'll be set to go. But the health and wellness of the community and the nation and the world, people who are sick and needing assistance without proper health care, those things are more important than me and my restaurant. But of course I would love to serve you guys fried shrimp and po'boys as soon as we can.
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