T.I. releases 'No Mercy': Can he make his new album a hit from jail?

TIImage Credit: Arnold Turner/WireImage.comT.I. couldn’t have picked a worse time to be missing in action. The rapper-actor, 30, should be out hawking his long-delayed seventh album, No Mercy, which finally arrived in stores today. Instead he’s sitting in a federal prison cell in Arkansas, where he began an 11-month sentence on Nov. 1 after violating probation. “We were gearing up to put an album out,” sighs Michael Kyser, head of urban music at Atlantic Records, T.I.’s label since 2003. “But we wanted him to help market and promote it. That would have been nice.”

Click through to the jump for more of this magazine preview.

Even before heading back to jail, T.I. was having a tough couple of years. He spent more than half of 2009 behind bars for a 2008 weapons conviction, and none of the four singles he dropped after his release had much impact on the pop charts. But by the end of this summer, his career seemed to be rebounding. His Aug. 27 movie Takers did well, and he was working on a new album, which he had titled King Uncaged. “I can’t complain, man,” T.I. told EW in August. “Things are pretty good from where I stand.”

Just two days later, his comeback came crashing down when he and his wife, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, were arrested in L.A. for alleged drug possession during a traffic stop. The charges were later dropped, but it was enough to violate his probation from the previous jail term — and disappoint many fans. “Some people were already pissed that he was in jail the first time,” says Vernon Kelson, music director at Baltimore’s 92Q radio. “Then for him to go back — some people have turned their back.” Atlantic also felt blindsided. “No one saw this coming,” says Kyser. “He stumbled, and we had to adjust.”…

To read the rest of this story, pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly this Friday, Dec. 10.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More on the Music Mix:
T.I. blasts hypocrites and suggests he’s the next Tupac in “No Mercy” video
T.I. celebrates box office success with Takers

Comments (6 total) Add your comment
  • Wtf

    i hope he goes back to jail. Dont drop the soap!

  • Preston

    Oh it’s going to sell big! T.I. has a strong fan base that wants to hear his music and not even think about his stint in prison. They look past the negative sides of him and focus on the positive. If he can manage to have his album sell big while he’s in jail for 11 months, then he’s succeeded!

    • jayjayjj50

      The album is only projected to do 150K in the first week. Every year that passes Rap and Hip Hop fans resort to Downloading their fav’s artist album for free than supporting them. I dont expect ppl to buy every song they download but Amazon offers the digital download of these albums at a better price than itunes. TI’s last album sold close to 600K first week. I didnt expect such a huge drop off(even with the negative press surrounding him).

  • Phil

    Ok…T.I. is signed to Grand Hustle through Atlantic, which is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records, which is in term owned by Time Warner, who happens to ALSO own Entertainment Weekly. SO THATS WHY THERE IS ALL THIS POINTLESS COVERAGE OF T.I. this week!! The album will open big, and then have a huge fall its 2nd week. He’s behind bars, for the second time in less than a year, and ALL the singles he released this Spring & Summer are Bonus tracks on the deluxe version since NONE of those were radio his when he released em. It was silly to release the album now, but I guess the exces wanted to cash in and didnt care how it came off, Simon this post is BELOW even you and your love of hip-hop.

  • Size Queen

    Great song and LDating.net was Amazing

  • TEMPESTT CHANDLER

    I ..LUV YOU TIP U WILL ALWAYS B THE BEST OUT HERE TO ME ….KEEP YOUR HEAD UP BABY GOD HAVE A PLAN FOR .U ….LUV ALWAYS MUAHHH….

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