Saturday, August 1, 2009

Heatwave Interactive unveiling hip-hop online role-playing game with T.I.

eatwave Interactive unveiling hip-hop online role-playing game with T.I.

tiWe all want to live the lifestyle of musicians. Parties, concerts, groupies.

That’s the idea behind Platinum Life, a new kind of online role-playing game from Heatwave Interactive, which has teamed up to make the game with hip hop artist T.I., who has sold millions of records.

“The game is about the aspiration to live the life of T.I.,” said Anthony Castoro, chief executive of Heatwave.

In the online game, you play the role of an up-and-coming artist. You select a manager, who advises you to get more street cred. That gives you the chance to undertake missions, as if you were playing a conventional game. You can earn cred by doing crowd-pleasing antics at Madison Square Garden. You can develop trademark dance moves and essentially battle for the favor of the audience. Other missions involve bailing out the boyfriend of one of your backup singers so she can get on with the show. You start at dive bars and try to become a superstar.

“It sounds weird,” Castoro acknowledges. “But it plays great.”

heatwave-2It may take a few years to get the massively multiplayer online game done. Castoro says the title will likely take advantage of the emerging “free to play” business model, where gamers can start playing for free but have to pay for things such as fan collectibles, songs, or clothing.

If the idea pans out, it could become the vehicle for many more music games. It could also unlock a new genre in music games that goes beyond the rhythm games such as Guitar Hero and the violent gang-related games with hip hop themes. The music industry likes it because it is a way to get people to pay for music. If a consumer buys an iTunes song, the music label gets no more than 99 cents. But if you integrate that music into a game, there is potential for much more revenue related to the track.

Austin-based Heatwave been working on the idea since last year and even before it raised a major round of funding, Castoro said. (The company raised $7.5 million from Syndicated Communications Venture Partners in April). Over time, the company will raise more money. Heatwave was founded in 2007 by Castoro, a former developer at Electronic Arts and Sony Online Entertainment, and veteran entrepreneur Donn Clendenon.

Much of the development time so far has been focused on interviewing musicians and record label executives about the music lifestyle. They learned that much of the stress comes from operating on extremely tight schedules. The game can accentuate that to make the play more fun. About 20 people are working in preproduction on the game and more will be added when full-scale work begins. In the meantime, Heatwave has other projects in the works, including an unannounced social networking game that should debut in the fourth quarter.

Platinum Life is certainly an innovative approach to music games. The question is, will video game fans go for it?

Monday, March 9, 2009

T.I. and Shawtey Lo squash beef

Stranger things have happened in hip-hop, but it was a shock to fans nonetheless: On Friday night, T.I. and Shawty Lo united onstage at Tip's Club Crucial.*g312eLzEGd-oIjRaJ-s39o3fD4NCXqWsmy7cMghuy7ztuOxLvFt7nASdxt8rXWO4qVVjTCye/ti_101307.jpg

The two have been going back and forth with dis songs and humorous jabs in interviews for more than a year. Everything came to a head November 24 when members of T.I.'s Grand Hustle clique clashed with Shawty Lo and his crew during the Dirty Awards in Atlanta. Tip and Lo apparently decided enough was enough.
"After that last altercation at the Dirty Awards, I told him my side of the story," Lo said Sunday in his studio, located in Atlanta's Bankhead neighborhood. "We talked for, like, 15 minutes. We decided in 2009, we're coming into a clean slate. And he's finnin' to go in. What better place to do it than in Bankhead at Club Crucial?

Shawty Lo with T.I.

"It was unexpected," Lo continued. "We already talked. Me being a man, I just went up there, and the crowd went crazy. They was shocked. We dapped each other as soon as I hit the stage. It was a good feeling."

Despite the beef between the two being dead, Lo said making a song with Tip is probably premature thinking at this point, but it isn't impossible.

"We don't know," Lo said with a smile before going off to join the likes of Fat Joe, Jim Jones, Young Jeezy and DJ Drama and DJ Infamous' party at the Velvet Room. "Stay tuned. Everything is in the mix. We haven't talked about doing music since 2006, but at least we have been talking. It feels good to be here."

Lo is working on a new album, now titled I Am Carlos. The LP, due in June, features T-Pain, Mya, Trey Songz, Rick Ross and Bun thus far.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

T.I. Talks 50 Cent, Grand Hustle, New Film ‘Takers’ With Chris Brown, and More

Photo of rapper T.I.
Rapper T.I. recently spoke about his appearance in 50 Cent’s diss cartoon, his reality TV show Road to Redemption, preparing for his one year jail sentence, label Grand Hustle, his future plans, new film “Takers” starring Chris Brown amongst others, and more.

As recently reported, rapper T.I. recently responded to being placed in one of 50 Cent’s diss cartoons entitled “Officer Ricky: Welcome To Death Row Right Now Na Na Na” which is a 4th episode of 50 Cent’s series of cartoon animations called “Saturday Cartoons Presents” aimed at dissing hip-hop rival Rick Ross.

“I’m a real dude - a stand up guy with integrity, respect, morals, standards, [and] principles, and anything outside of that I ain’t got nothing to do with,” T.I. stated in his interview with XXLMag, refusing to participate in any virtual hip-hop beef with rapper 50 Cent or any other rapper for that matter.

“I haven’t seen it but, we all know dude,” continued T.I. referring to the cartoon series and it’s founder, rapper 50 Cent. “We all know his intentions, we all know his motives. We’ve seen this too many times before. You know, I play chess, not checkers, you dig? I ain’t even trippin’ off of that. At the end of the day, I’m more worried or concerned about what a man says to me or what a man does to me, not what he says or does in the eyes of the public,” the rapper added.

The rapper mentioned that, while preparing to serve his jail sentence, he’s trying to do whatever he can for his label, Grand Hustle, and the roster of artists to prepare it and them for his year of absence.

“I’m in there doing everything I can while I’m there to help from a production standpoint, a lyrical, creative standpoint,” stated T.I. regarding the label Grand Hustle then adds, “Whether they need help with hooks or need verses, beats, ideas or just insight, you know. Just everything I can..” in regards to what he’s doing for his Grand Hustle’s roster of artists.

Grand Hustle artist roster includes rappers Young Dro, Yung LA, Killer Mike, 8Ball and MJG, Big Kuntry King, female group Xtaci, and more.

In the interview, T.I. also talks about his reality show the “Road To Redemption” and what was part of the show’s purpose.

“Road to Redemption is primarily geared towards helping those who have yet to find a way to help themselves,” stated T.I.

Since he is preparing to start serving his jail time which begins this March 27, 2009 on 2007 weapons charges, the rapper goes into his future plans afterward which is to put focus on his acting career, production roles in movies such as in his debut production movie “Takers” which was originally named “Bone Deep,” his fashion line AKOO and expanding his portfolio.

“I’m looking forward to pushing that [AKOO] past the point of $100 million,” stated T.I. “[Also] my film career as an actor and producer. I just produced my first film with Screen Gems, a film called Takers with Chris Brown, Idris Elba, Michael Ealy, Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon and Paul Walker. I’m looking to do more films as a producer and as an actor. Doing more television shows and producing more television. Also, my sports management company, the sports management division of Grand Hustle. We’re looking forward to creating opportunities and marketing athletes and turning them into brands, not just athletes,” added T.I.

The full interview can be found online at the XXL Magazine website.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

T.I.'s Road to Redemption

T.I.'s Road to Redemption

A new episode of “T.I.’s Road To Redemption” airs this Tuesday at 9:30pm on MTV. The episode description is below, as well as three sneak preview clips.

T.I. tackles an Atlanta teen named Trey who is running the streets with a violent gang. Both his father and older brother are in prison, leaving Trey with no positive male role model to motivate him. T.I. knows that if his situation remains unchanged for much longer, the streets will swallow Trey. He will end up in prison or dead. T.I. implements his four-step intervention, confronting Trey with the reality of his life choices, in hopes of inspiring change.

After surprising Trey, T.I. Trey doesn’t seem affected at all so T.I. decides it’s time for a meeting with his Uncle Quint, an ex con who spent ten years in prison but has since turned his life around. After Quint opens Trey’s eyes to the realities of prison and death, T.I. is confident that he has done all he can for young Trey. Only time will tell if he has truly learned a lesson.

YouTube Clips :

“T.I.’s Road To Redemption” – T.I. Surprises Trey

“T.I.’s Road To Redemption” – T.I. on Domestic Violence

“T.I.’s Road To Redemption” – Straight Talk ft. T.I.’s Uncle Quinton

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

T.I. Provides Positive Perspective To Troubled Teens

Continuing with his court-mandated community service efforts, Clifford “T.I.” Harris spoke to troubled teens about the importance of school.
T.I. continues his court mandated community service efforts.

The multi-platinum rapper appeared in court Friday morning to speak to a small group of high school students – half of which are already serving sentences as juveniles - about their future and, more importantly, staying out of trouble, with T.I. advising them to keep up with their studies.
T.I. and Ciara
T.I.’s speech was a part of the court-mandated 1000 hours of community service he was ordered to complete as a part of his plea bargain on the gun charges he caught stemming from an arrest in late 2007.
T.I. Picture

The rapper will also spend a year behind bars as part of the sentence as well. T.I. also has a show on MTV, Road To Redemption, documents his effort to help at-risk youth as a part of his community service, which premiered February 10th.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Powder Springs Police Help T.I. make a show

TI and Pewee on Road to Perdition

Sgt. Chad Payne of the Powder Springs Police Department was in a supporting role when rap star T.I. brought his reality show to the city jail.

Payne was waiting when T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris Jr., arrived at the Powder Springs jail with a self-professed street hustler named Pee Wee.

Payne said the filming cost the city nothing and took about an hour of his time. It was the first stop during taping last October of MTV’s “T.I.’s Road to Redemption.”

“I told him to get out [of the car] or I’d pull him out,” Payne said of the moment when Harris and Pee Wee pulled up at the jail. “[Pee Wee] was stunned. He was speechless. I told him to be quiet.”

The show is not part of Harris’ effort to complete 1,000 hours of community service before he is sentenced next month.

Harris wants to give troubled teens a dose of reality before beginning a federal prison sentence for gun violations.

The city’s police department has two holding cells. On that day, they were empty except for the 16-year-old. Pee Wee stayed locked up for an hour with instructions to read the dictionary. Meanwhile, Harris took off for lunch.

It’s unclear why Powder Springs was chosen, Payne said. The department agreed to participate in the filming because, “we felt if he was trying to help a troubled person, we would do our best to help. We didn’t help out T.I. We helped out a troubled kid who has never been arrested.”

If Harris is successful in completing his community service, he will be sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for trying to buy three machine guns and two silencers from an undercover federal agent in October of 2007.

In 2004, Harris was in the Cobb County jail for violating probation on a drug charge when he was allowed to film a rap video in a maximum security unit at the Fulton County Jail while on work release. That incident sparked criticism and resulted in the firing of Fulton County Jail supervisor Robert Sullivan.

The latest taping was more low-key, Payne said.

“I talked to [Pee Wee] face to face about the stuff we deal with here,” Payne said. “You want to feel like [you got through to him] but you never know.”

There will be six more episodes of “T.I.’s Road To Redemption” before Harris is sentenced to prison. The second one airs Tuesday. It was filmed in Newnan.

Monday, October 27, 2008

TI Pictures

n a recent interview with, T.I. addressed a number of issues on his recent Paper Trail [click to read] album, including paying tribute to slain friend Philant Johnson [click to read], a potential hiatus from album-making, and addressing the 2008 conflict with fellow Atlanta rapper Shawty Lo.

T.I., T.I. vs. TIP
T.I., the rap charmer whose Grammy-nominated album King went platinum last year, may have millions of fans, but he's got at least one mortal enemy — namely, the gruff-if-familiar-looking thug who calls himself TIP. The two characters represent warring aspects of the man born Clifford Harris Jr., and his fifth LP includes songs from each perspective. ''I hope I can satisfy both sides of my personality,'' the Atlanta native says. ''They're very evenly matched.'' As well as recording with Eminem, Akon, Justin Timberlake, and others, he's been planning a movie to dramatize the disc's split-identity concept. ''Once I set out to do something,'' he says, ''it's done. I wouldn't allow myself to take the easy way out.'' Release date: 7/3

The title of T.I.'s sixth album is purportedly a reference to his approach to lyric writing. However, considering the extensive warrants obtained for his recent gun possession arrests, one can't help but see the irony. So, perhaps Paper Trail is less about artistic method than it is about Cliff Harris' penance. Old friends like Danja, J.R. Rotem and Just Blaze return to give T.I.P. the vainglorious beats.