NEW YORK — Rapper T.I. has no plans to ever run for public office, but he said he wants to make a difference in underserved communities through activism and music.
The Atlanta-based artist spoke about affecting positive change in his community while backstage at the Rock and Roll of Fame induction ceremony earlier this month in New York.
The rapper performed in honour of the late Tupac Shakur after Snoop Dogg inducted him into the Rock Hall.
"It's an extreme honour ," said T.I. "I feel like, you know, as a kid, Pac was my favourite rapper since the first time I heard him, and you know, that's the first person I ever, as an artist, hoped to pattern myself after."
Shakur was gunned down in 1996 in Las Vegas at the height of his career. If he were alive today, T.I. thinks he would be more than a musician.
"Anything could have happened with Pac, man. Just his diverse intellect, and the way he thought outside the box could have led him anywhere in life," he said. "He may have gotten into politics by now. Who knows?"
T.I. has been active in the community, focusing on youth programs for boys and girls, and feels his role continues to grow when it comes to providing help to those that need it most.
"We get better at it every year as we continue to go in and mentor and do things to help kids in the community. And right now we hope to have some partnerships with some corporations, strengthen our resources, and allow us to do more."
T.I. has expressed frustration over President Donald Trump's rhetoric on Twitter, but said he intends to focus on doing things that "affect our communities in a positive light."
"Get involved with local elections. Find out who your local politicians are and hold them accountable to create substance within the community," said the rapper, who plans on releasing new music later this year.
As for running for political office himself, that's not something he sees in the cards.
"I don't think so. I'm not a politician. I'm not a politician. If I can use my influence for the best for someone else, who I feel is deserving, I would do that, but I am not a politician," he said. "I'm too motivated."
The Rock and Roll of Fame induction ceremony will air April 29 on HBO.
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John Carucci, The Associated Press