News: T.I. Unwraps "King Uncaged" Artwork Motivation, "My Original Idea Was To Lock Down Times Square"

Tuesday, Jun 15, 2010 6:05PM

Written by Rosario Harper

Grammy-winning rapper T.I. has explained the motivation behind his new King Uncaged album cover which features him sitting next to a lion.

T.I. says he initially planned to do the photoshoot in New York City's Times Square area.

"I'm known as 'the King.' Although it's disputed by some, concurred by most, there ain't no disputing that lion--that is what it is. So I went and told them, 'Get me as close as you can to a lion.' He had a trainer holding him on a chain. They took the chain out [in post-work]. It really went down. I wanted to pet him. I said, 'Let me get hands on.' They were like, 'No. We could only let you do but so much.' So I did as much as they would allow me to do...I figured we had to do some kind of slick and meaningful imagery to say the obvious without doing the obvious. I tried to flip it as much as I could. I wanted it to be a a busy city street. My original idea was to lock down Times Square and let me and the lion do the same thing right there, but we couldn't quite pull that off; they said it had to be in controlled environment. They tried to a artsy kind of drawing. It looked good, but it didn't serve my purpose--it was just a painting. I figured, if it got to be a controlled environment, we may as well just keep it all the way simple make it black and white, white background, me, him, cool chair." (RESPECT Mag)

T.I.'s album cover also pays homage to one of late soul singer Minnie Riperton's artwork designs.

The cover art for T.I. new album King Uncaged features the ATL rapper seated next to a lion, seemingly in a nod to a soul songbird Minnie Riperton's 1975 album, Adventures In Paradise. King Uncaged drops Aug. 17. (Hip Hop Pop Crunch)

Last month, T.I. talked about possibly collaborating with Eminem and Lady Gaga on his new album.

"Phenomenal talent. Extremely proud [to work with her]," Tip said about Gaga. "She's definitely that good. She knows what she's doing. She knows exactly what she wants people to think and say. She does everything that she needs to be done to ensure it happens...We gonna go back in and record some more songs...But the one we have right now is entitled 'Lick It.' I think we both have a tendency to shock the world in a lot of different ways...[My Eminem collaboration] is in the making. It just hasn't been recorded yet. The song has been picked out and it's been agreed for us to do it. We're thinking a song that can definitely make its way to the club." (MTV)

The rapper recently compared his project to the late Tupac Shakur's All Eyez on Me.

T.I. is setting the bar high for his post-prison album, King Uncaged, comparing it to Tupac's 1996 classic All Eyez on Me, which was released months after 'Pac got out of prison. "This is the most significant return from incarceration that the game has had since then," T.I. says. "Just given the enormous success of that project, everyone's expecting the same results. I just want to meet the expectations, if not surpass them." (Rolling Stone)

King Uncaged drops Tuesday, August 17th.

Check out a recent T.I. interview down below:

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