ScreamFest is not your little sister’s music festival.
So says T.I., reigning king of hip hop and ScreamFest headliner. Yes, the fest was started six years ago and named for the (mostly female) screaming fans who greeted their idols. But after six years ScreamFest, like its audience, has grown up.
“We were definitely going after a different market this time,” said the multi-platinum and two-time Grammy Award winning T.I. about his decision to headline the fest. “Once that was concurred upon, we moved forward. It is the ScreamFest tour, not the little kid ScreamFest tour.”
If the upcoming shows are anything like the recent Washington, D.C. gig, there will still be a healthy dose of young women in the audience. But expect plenty of young men to also turn out to hear T.I., Grammy Award winning artist Ciara, rappers Yung Joc and T-Pain, and R&B artist Lloyd.
“This is my second time being a part of the Scream and… it feels bigger and better this year,” said Ciara. “I am very excited about the lineup. It's the hottest names in music and I can guarantee that fans will be excited as well. Expect a lot of energy on this tour..”
In DC and other venues the all-star line up was supplemented by 50 Cent, Ciara’s rumored-to-be-beau, who unexpectedly performed.
But despite the high-powered line up it’s clear that this year’s ScreamFest is the T.I show. The former Atlanta drug dealer turned platinum selling rapper and CEO of Grand Hustle Records is coming off an incredible 18-month stint that included triumphs – including the Best Hip Hop Artist Award at the BET Awards and tragedies – such as the stillborn birth of his daughter.
T.I. turned what he called “triumphs and miseries” into T.I. vs. T.I.P., his latest CD that nearly hit gold status during its first week on the charts. Now the man, known for plenty of charitable giving, is headlining ScreamFest.
“There are not many events in hip hop right now. You got some songs. But there’s no events,” he said. “I feel like I want to continue to make these events. Like this Scream tour. It is an event. This is made up of the most [brilliant] hitmakers in the industry right now.”
T.I. has had a whirlwind 18 months of major awards and best selling albums interspersed with personal tragedies such as the shooting death of a close friend and the stillborn birth of his daughter. Here’s more of what T.I. told BlogCritics about his past and where he hopes the future will lead him.
Tell us about your latest album, T.I vs.T.I.P.
I wanted to beat the competition, but if I’m going to compete with anybody it was going to be myself. I’m very proud of the CD. I wanted to familiarize the fans with what I've been going through. I feel like this is a documentary of the last 18 months of my life, what I been going through.
What has been the most trying thing in the past eight months?
It was one thing after another from my daughter [who was stillborn] to a lot of different things that it just created constant challenges.
You’ve said before you’re beyond competition. You are clearly the Hip Hop king and have been for a time. Why do you still have the crown?
I feel like I have a relationship with the fans. Other artists have songs you might hear a lot or a video you see on the TV but what is the connection? What is the artists’ connection with fans? T.I. vs. T.I.P. is an event. If a kid is 13 now when he turns 21 he’s going to remember where he was when this album dropped.
Is your next movie American Gangster (with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe,) wrapped?
It’s coming out Nov. 2… I was honored I was able to do it. Denzel said just keep it simple, man. That’s what I did. It is one of the [best] black gangster movies ever to grace the screen.
You are involved in so many other businesses, should your fans worry you’ll stop performing rap?
At some point in my career I will definitely back up way away from rap and focus more on film, fashion, production, film production. There is so much out there to do, I love to create opportunities.