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Cee-Lo Recalls First Meeting With T.I., Says He 'Deserves To Be King'

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When it comes to the hip-hop history of the Dirty South, there are layers to the influential region. One of the more interesting stories is the connection between Atlanta rhyme giants Goodie Mob and new age King of the South T.I., who is featured on the group’s upcoming, long awaited album Age Against the Machine. For member Cee-Lo—the singer-songwriter-rapper is currently gearing up for the release alongside Goodie Mob brethren Khujo, T-Mo, and Big Gipp—he recalls a time when T.I. was just a young artist struggling to be put on.

“We were in D.C. on tour…KP (veteran record executive Kawan Prather) who happens to be the A&R of this project, he had found a protégé in T.I. at the time,” Cee-Lo recalls of a late ’90s gig in the nation’s capital. “So [T.I.] freestyled on TV with us…that was his first time.”

Today, T.I. is one of the biggest hip-hop acts around having conquered the music charts, film, and television with his reality show T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle. But for longtime fans of the Grand Hustle spitter, who is currently featured on Robin Thicke’s chart-topping, ode-to-Marvin-Gaye pop hit “Blurred Lines,” it is not at all shocking to hear the MC on the new Goodie Mobb collaboration “Pinstripes.” After all, Cee-Lo can be heard on T.I.’s latest single “Hello.”

“We call him Lil Red,” Cee-Lo adds of Goodie Mob’s deep-rooted relationship with T.I. "He’s been with us his [whole] career. And if anybody deserves to be the king it’s him…we respect him an awful lot.”

Goodie Mob’s Age Against the Machine is due out August 27th.—Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)

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