T.I. opened up about the dangerous combination of depression and paranoia that led him to gather up a massive stockpile of guns — and get busted on serious weapons charges — on Larry King Live last night. “I’m just ready to put the bad things behind me and look forward to the future, just move forward and evolve,” the MC told King.
During the interview, King ran down the arsenal of guns T.I. possessed prior to his arrest, a list so long King joked, “I could run out of time.” As he has before, the rapper recounted how in 2006 his friend Philant Johnson was killed, and the murder ignited an intense fear. “That kind of caused a state of depression, paranoia, and my judgment was jaded. I just felt my life was in danger,” T.I. said, adding that his entourage was “outgunned” in the attack that claimed his friend’s life. “They opened fire and let off maybe 50 to 100 rounds of ammunition, very quick, against me and others in that van… I still don’t know who they are.”
Since he had previous convictions on his record, T.I. knew he was forbidden to own firearms. But his friend’s death coupled with a “rash of home invasions” in the Atlanta area encouraged T.I. to abandon his better judgment. “At the time when I felt the need to have all these things, I never took into consideration the legalities; I only took into consideration the protection of my life and my family’s life and my home,” T.I. said. “Now, I am not in any way trying to excuse my behavior, because it’s unacceptable. I do realize right now that was very, very, very poor judgment on my behalf. I am in the best of my abilities trying to explain where my mind was at the time. I was concerned, extremely.” When asked by King whether he owns a weapon now, T.I. quickly responded, “Absolutely not.”
The interview had a few lighthearted moments, too, though: T.I. rebuffed King’s attempts to get him to rap on air, though Tip did offer his services if King were ever to make a hip-hop record. “After this, we’re gonna go to the studio and knock something out,” T.I. joked. As Rolling Stone previously reported, T.I.’s King Uncaged, inspired by Tupac’s post-prison classic All Eyez on Me, will be released on August 17th.