After writing open letters to former President Obama and President Trump , T.I. addresses US in his latest letter, which was released on Inauguration Day.
In an interview with Ebony, Tip explains just who “US” is: “The
Black community, the hip-hop community or whoever is against the oppressive communities that have historically tried to bring us down.”
In the letter, Tip acknowledges accountability for things he’s done in the past. “As I write this letter, I can’t help but express my frustration and concern for US,” he explains. “I also can’t help but question my contribution to the status of where we are. I understand that I too have been guilty of doing the very things that put us here.”
Despite this, the Georgia rapper says he must “speak about these things that deeply concern” him, moving forward. He continues, noting that “everything cannot be blamed on THE SYSTEM,” and bashes materialism. He says: “We cannot continue to get caught up in having material abundance and yet be fundamentally and spiritually broke.”
Another key point Tip brings up in his letter is around education. He advises parents to educate children “outside of the school systems,” noting that these systems were “not designed to light US out of oppression.”
As he proceeds, the Grand Hustle boss explains that he knows what it’s like to “feel hopeless” and what it’s like to “be racially profiled,treated unjustly, and abused by the police.” “But even more importantly than knowing all these things,” he adds. “I know what it’s like to overcome ’em. Now, I know it’s not easy…but all of US can do something.”
The letter is also a call to action. “Every one of us must do something to contribute to transforming our community for the better,” he writes. “We have been underserved, underprivileged and unfortunate for far too long.
There are no more excuses. It’s not enough to have limited progress and allow our expectations and sense of purpose to evaporate. So, if that means we must sacrifice some nights at the club and give up buying the latest designer handbags and sneakers…well then damn, so be it.”
Tip launched the series of open letters earlier this month. They are, in part, inspired by his latest projects US or Else and US or Else: Letter to the System .