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A TBTS Good Idea™: How T.I. Can Once Again Be the Hottest MC in the Game, Even From His Jail Cell

September 18, 2009

To those of you who spend hours wondering who is currently the hottest MC in the game, I offer the calming news that you can stop worrying—MTV will soon tell you. I for one cannot mo-freakin’ WAIT to find out whose videos MTV will have the hardest time not playing this year.

Believe it or not, T.I. is on the ballot and could have a chance to win, even though he’s currently serving a prison sentence on weapons charges. It does seem that T.I.’s chances will be diminished because of MTV’s criterion that “the list is based on the MC’s accomplishments over the past 8 to 12 months.” Given that T.I.’s currently doing 8 to 12 months, this may hurt him.

So this Good Idea™ is mostly something he can do now that may improve his chances to become the official Hottest MC for 2010. While in jail, T.I. should learn the guitar, and not just in that Lil Wayne way where you hold a guitar on stage and do laughably bad mimicry of real playing. Seriously, somebody get Lil Wayne an air guitar, quick.

I’ve even got a suggestion for whom T.I. can call to make this happen: British punk-folk icon Billy Bragg. Seems Bragg’s got a charity program called Jail Guitar Doors (named after a Clash song) that supplies guitars to British prisoners. Bragg says, “We want [inmates] to be able to move on from their situation and reconnect with the outside world, and my hunch was that playing an instrument—particularly a guitar—could help that.”

A laudable and completely rational idea, indeed. Probably because it makes sense, it has yet to find traction in America, where we’re not so big on rehabilitation or preparing prisoners for much of anything except recidivism. What might be necessary to help Jail Guitar Doors cross the pond is an acclaimed, and currently jailed, musician to publicly express his or her interest in the program.

T.I., meet Billy Bragg. Billy Bragg, meet T.I. Let the activism, the social marketing, the guitar lessons, and the improvement of T.I.’s chances to be 2010’s Hottest MC begin.

Maybe the pair, after a couple of guitar lessons (which would put T.I. ahead of Lil Wayne), could do a 21st-century version of Live from Folsom Prison as a Jail Guitar Doors fundraiser. Maybe T.I. could do some “Fenders for Felons” public service announcements after his release. Maybe America’s regressive penal system would improve in the process. And maybe, because of yet another Good Idea™, some venture capitalist will float a boatload of scratch in The Brown Tweed Society’s direction.

Until all of these things happen, I will in fact be holding my breath.

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