T.I. Celebrates His Freedom at a Taylor Swift Show

How was T.I.’s first post-prison weekend? Not too bad! He reconnected with loved ones, tweeting “Feels great to be back where I belong … Back in the arms of those who need me the most.” He dropped a new single with Big K.R.I.T, “I’m Flexin.” And he got to go onstage at a Taylor Swift show. Wait, what?

Yes! Our dude’s freedom celebration included in part popping up at Swift’s Atlanta show to do “Live Your Life,” with Swift gamely taking on Rihanna’s bits. It looks like they actually practiced: T.I. comes out, more or less on cue, via a rising stage platform, and the two run in synch toward opposite ends of the stage waving. Of course, that’s not quite enough to prevent this from being supremely awkward. Basically, Swift seems unsure of the amount of gyrating she should be doing, and the manner in which she should be doing it. At one point, she sort of tries to lean back onto T.I. all dramatically, and he responds by politely but coldly and very briefly resting one hand on her shoulder. It’s the best.

But why the hell is T.I. showing up at Taylor Swift shows anyway? Well, this is a confusing time for him and his team. The just-finished prison stint was the second half of a doubleheader: He was arrested in 2009 for gun possession, and did about ten months, then was re-imprisoned for another 11 months following a probation violation. The problem here is that he already burned through the standard post-prison playbook on the first sentence: He apologized a lot, wrote schmaltzy songs about being a changed man, and avoided buying silencers for his firearms. He can’t just do exactly that again, but what is he supposed to do? It’s not really clear, right? Apparently the current game plan is “try everything, including Taylor Swift co-signs.”

Filed Under: Music, T.I., Taylor Swift

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad