Sitting down with Shannon Sharpe on his Club Shay Shay podcast, Tip opened up about the two Atlanta rappers both wanting to sign a seven-figure deal with his Grand Hustle label, but he chose not to because of the amount he would have to take from them in return.
“At this point in my career, I find it an honor to be able to tell new artists when they come to me,” he said. “You know, 21 Savage, [Young] Bandit. A lot of them come up to me, ‘Yeah man, give me a million, Tip. I don’t care what you do, just give me a million and let me go from there.’
“No, I won’t, because if I give you a million, I’m going to take something back that’s going to be worth a lot more, and we won’t be able to be friends from there. I always tell them, man , ‘Don’t worry about the money beforehand, because it will come’.”
He added: “I remember telling Slime, I remember telling 21. And even Savage, every time he sees me now, he hits me and says, ‘Yeah, it came.’ And it puts a smile on my face because I just know how impactful each generation has the opportunity to be even more than the last.”
While TI didn’t sign Young Thug, the YSL rapper was associated with the Hustle Gang early in his career thanks to their “About the Money” collaboration and his appearances on the label’s GDOD II compilation in 2014.
21 Savage, meanwhile, released his first few projects independently (including his breakout Savage Mode EP) before signing to Epic Records in 2017, a deal which gave him ownership over his masters.
“Every song you’ve ever heard me on, I own it,” he went on Games worth millions of dollars podcast in 2021. “I got a 70/30 split with my label; I get 70, they get 30. I make more money from my album sales than I do from touring. A lot of rappers, most of their money comes from touring.”
Elsewhere in his Club Shay Shay interview, TI elaborated on the mindset of artists at the beginning of their careers and how he learned about the music business from a young age.
“Most times, most artists are only looking for what they get right then,” he said. “Because what we always have are ideas and what industry has is access, so we tend to trade our ideas for their access, and that’s usually how we get ourselves until we’ve created the leverage for us even where we can slightly tip the scales in the other direction.
“I had already researched and read and had familiarized myself a bit with the business. I read books like Hitman, everything you need to know about the music business, you know, I just read books to teach me what a good deal was, what a bad deal was, what publishing was, what mechanical rights were. I had already researched, it was when I was 9, 10, 11 years old.”
He continued: “I was challenged by my uncle, he said, ‘If this is what you want to do, you’ll learn everything there is to know and I’ll make sure you have the money and the resources to get you , where you want to go …’ But when I read the books, he had already caught a 10-year sentence, so I had all this information, and I’ve had no bag.”