When Cornell booked Georgia rapper T.I. to play its annual Slope Day, it must have known his reputation. Possession charges, gun fights, parole violations — Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.’s record is no secret. (We do admire his work with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.) But even they must have been surprised when, mid-song, the emcee stopped the music and went on a two-minute diatribe against a kid who’d apparently thrown a water bottle at him.
Instead of politely asking the student to refrain from throwing projectiles, T.I. took the next logical step and put $50,000 on his head. At a club or arena, this would be notable but uninteresting. At Cornell, it’s surreal.
The video below is spotty, so we’ve included an abridged transcript. You may notice the DJ gets a little carried away with the gunshot sound effects:
Don’t motherfucking play with me, homeboy … You don’t throw nothing at me, I won’t throw nothing at you, you dig that? [gunshot sounds] … I respect your school doing your thang [Ed. note: Can this blurb please be engraved into stone on Ho Plaza?], but I’m a real street nigga, I don’t play that shit, homes. … Anybody else throws something up on this stage, I got 50,000 on his head, I ain’t bullshitting. [gunshots] [guns cocking] [more guns shooting / cocking] … That’s the way it goes … Don’t motherfucking play with me man [gun cocks] … Y’all see what it going have to be , right? … [cocks] Hey, we need to continue this show. Throw something up here and you’re getting thrown out, you’re going to jail tonight. … Let’s do this [cocks] … I need some head busters out there in the crowd. … I need some plainclothes out there. … If you see someone throw something, you know them out, come on and get your money.
It’s hard to know where to start. First off, is it just us, or is T.I. really telling Cornell to snitch on its own? For shame. Plus, all that gun-cocking gets a little excessive. Everyone knows you can only cock a gun once in between rounds. It also makes you wonder how many “head busters” actually attend Cornell, and whether T.I. is aware of the likely scarcity.
P.S. We’re actually not positive it’s the original bottle-thrower that T.I. puts the bounty on — it could be a hypothetical reward for violence against any subsequent hurlers. Close textual analysis appreciated.
UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: Nooooo! T.I. has pulled one over on us for the last time!