Grammy-winning rapper T.I. speaks on the dark days that followed the 2006 fatal shooting of his close friend, Philant Johnson, in the new XXL Magazine.
T.I. claims he was full of anger and out for revenge after losing Johnson.
A few weeks after the bloodshed in Cincinnati, T.I. booked a New York City recording studio for himself and Grand Hustle artists Young Dro and Alfamega. Over a jarring, violent beat, he snarled threats and promised vengeance upon enemies. Sadly, any therapeutic benefits were negated by interruptions caused by an inept engineer. After the engineer made another mistake, an angry Tip threatened him from the vocal booth. “I ain’t going back to jail for you,” the rapper said. “Don’t make me f*ck you up.” A few minutes later, after another trip up by the engineer, T.I. rushed from the booth like a whirlwind in a white V-neck, yanked the man from his seat and dragged him out into the adjoining hallway. Tip could be seen barking into the engineer’s face through an interior studio window. The engineer went ashen. T.I. remembers the incident as part of a tumultuous time. “I just had a lot of mixed emotions, a lot of unchanneled aggression that I had not yet found ways to deal with properly,” he says. “It started coming out at different points and periods of time, minor situations. I just spazzed out and spiraled out of control, little by little.” (XXL Magazine)
The 2006 shoot-out stemmed from a club incident involving Grand Hustle associates.
Details emerged last June 2008 explaining that both men took issue with T.I. and his entourage, when they were denied didn’t allow them access to exclusive areas at a late night party and performance. Upon being turned down, a member from Tip’s crew allegedly struck one of the brothers in the head with a bottle and later taunted them. This led to the Thomas duo following the rapper’s crew in SUVs and exchanging gunfire. Johnson reportedly died as a result of this gun fire. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
In November 2008, the rapper testified in the murder case.
Describing the aftermath, T.I. explained what happened when he noticed Johnson laying prone, after being shot in the head. “We called Phil’s name out, Phil didn’t respond,” T.I. said. When asked what his friend looked like, he responded: “Lifeless.” “I saw blood running down his face, his shirt was wet…He had an injury wound to the left temple.” Three other members were reportedly wounded, however Tip did not suffer any injuries. (Associated Press)
One of the shooters pleaded guilty to multiple charges including manslaughter and assault last October.
Padron Thomas, 41, pleaded guilty Wednesday to manslaughter, tampering with evidence and five counts of felonious assault. Thomas admitted he was driving a vehicle north on Interstate 75 in a May 3, 2006, incident when his younger brother, Hosea Thomas, fired several shots into vans carrying TI and his friends. The rapper, whose real name is Clifford Harris, wasn’t hit but his friend Philant “Big Phil” Johnson was killed and three others wounded. The official sentencing date is Nov. 17 but the judge indicated Wednesday he will impose the 10-year sentence and allow it to run at the same time as Thomas’ federal prison sentence. Hosea Thomas was upset he’d been hit in the head with a bottle at a Roselawn party attended by TI and his posse following a concert. Enraged, he got in the vehicle and the brothers chased the rapper’s van up the interstate before Hosea Thomas opened fire. Hosea Thomas is eligible for parole in 2074 when he is 100 years old. (Cincinnati News)
Check out 2008 footage from T.I. in court down below: