T.I. penned an open letter to Barack Obama to thank the president for what he accomplished in his eight years in the Oval Office. "Not only did you impact a nation, but you defined a culture and you shook up and woke up a generation," T.I. wrote.
The rapper's message to Obama, which he unveiled in the New York Times Friday, is the first in a series of open letters that T.I. has written, including forthcoming notes to the American people and President-elect Donald Trump.
"For years you fought to keep this nation from the very thing we have now become. For years, many of US failed you because, as I've said before, we were not all ready for the change you wanted to bring about," the rapper wrote to Obama.
"But rest assured that we heard you. Rest assured that we felt you and rest assured that your legacy will live on long after your presidency."
With just two weeks remaining in Obama's presidency, T.I. reflected back to his teenage years when Tupac Shakur, his favorite rapper, said, "we weren't ready for a black president." "…Until you brought US the audacity of hope and reminded US that yes we can," T.I. wrote to the president.
T.I. added that he will "forever be grateful" to Obama and promised the president that even as he transitions out of office, "WE will continue to stand with you and alongside those who make a personal investment in US. We will continue to remain committed to causes that are bigger than ourselves. We will continue to remind ourselves that, Yes, We still can!"
T.I.'s open letter series follows the surprise release of his politically minded LP Us or Else: Letter to the System. Speaking to the New York Times, the rapper explained his motivation for penning the open letters.
"My first purpose is to communicate and share my thoughts and try to be a voice for the people who may be thinking of something to say but, for some reason, may not be able to say it or not have the platform to say it," he said. "Using my platform to be a voice for those who can't speak for themselves."
As for his expectations concerning the Trump administration, T.I. said, "It's time for me to sit back and observe, see what it will be like. I already have my own opinions, information, what I think it will be like. But that isn't as important as the reality. I don't have to talk about or wonder what it will be like. I will have to live through it. I don't want to be presumptuous, I don't want to be premature in my criticism."