Rapper T.I. gives a tour of his hometown neighborhood in Atlanta

T.I., who now goes by the name Tip, took ABC News' "Nightline" to his old community and talked about his career and giving back.
7:31 | 10/11/18

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Transcript for Rapper T.I. gives a tour of his hometown neighborhood in Atlanta
This is how I spent my time. Biking through these streets? Biking through these streets. We're riding through the old neighborhood with rapper T.I., tip as he referred to be called, once dealt drugs on these Atlanta streets. Now he's greeted like royalty. How y'all doing? What going on? At 38 years old, tip is in a fight to stay relevant in a genre that celebrates drugs and crime. ??? Don't stop me now no most. All while chasing an insatiable desire to become a legend. You are a rapper, actor, philanthropist, businessman, dad. Son. Brother. Husband. I guess a fashion mogul. ??? Rolls on the right ??? Reporter: Tip burst onto the scene in 2003 with his hit album "Trap music." ??? Immaculately polished with the spirit of a hustler ??? Reporter: After his first hit record he went on to produce a series of hit singles like "Live your life." ??? You'll live your life hey hey hey ??? Reporter: He won grammys. Ten years ago I'd have never expected to be here. Reporter: But that was not enough. First to the big screen. Most recently as Dave in marvel's "Ant-man and the wasp." You don't find someone like that, they find you. Reporter: He even got into show tunes, composing a song with his son for the Broadway show "Spongebob squarepants" which landed him a Tony nomination. Did you ever think you'd be sitting where you are now? I mean, man -- I knew I was good. I knew. But I did not know how to make my dream a reality. You do not lack ambition. What is driving you, do you think? I have ideas in my head that I want to see fulfilled. The idea is to do something that hasn't been done before. Things that people think can't be done. It's a drug. It's a healthier drug than they're offering in the trap. Reporter: He grew up in the Bankhead area of Atlanta. His mom was on welfare. He looked for ways early on to support himself. You started selling crack at 12, 13 years old? 12, 13 years old. How many times did you go to jail? I can't count. I can't count. How chaotic and dangerous did your life become at its worst? We were in shoot-outs every week. My uncle calls me to my aunt's house, hey, Lee's about to get you a piece of paper to sign, it's insurance, because you're about to die. Reporter: Salvation came in the form of music. ??? Money rolls cars and clothes ??? That first album was about a young man who was talking about his firsthand experiences in the trap. Reporter: He is the self-proclaimed creator of trap music. A genre of southern rap steeped in drugs and partying. Even after he became a star, the arrests continued. Meanwhile, as his rap sheet grew, so did his family. So, uh, things have changed a bit. Reporter: He and wife tamecka tiny Harris got their own popular reality show, "T.I. And tiny: The family hustle." Mama. Dada! Yes! At this point in your career, who do you look at as a role model? Ambassador Andrew young. Harry belafonte. Jane Elliot. Jay-Z. Puffy. I kind of take a page out of all of their books. Now this is important. The house right there? The brick house? That's where I got my first kiss. Reporter: He is now bringing that good will to his beloved hometown. His real estate venture, buy back the block, buys up homes in his old, gentrifying neighborhood, and flips them into affordable residential spaces. This is Bankhead seafood, we're going to rebuild it. With as much growth and opportunity that's going on in my community, we refuse to be left behind. You had a good day? All right, man, y'all be good. Reporter: Now, 15 years after trap music first came out, tip is releasing his ninth studio album "Dime trap" which is out right now. This is two chains exhibit. He donated this car to us, let us use it. Reporter: In his old neighborhood he's opened up a popup trap museum, homage to the genre. Over here, this is Gucci man's exhibit. An actual crack house, if you will. Looks like there's weed, not crack. Well, actually -- Oh, it's both. Crack there. At least simulated. This is not real crack? This is not real crack. How do you draw the line between celebrating/glorifying, or just documenting? This is what the deal. These are the humble beginnings that a person came from. If you don't take notice to the beginning of it, then you can't really appreciate the destination that he arrived to at the end. Reporter: His status affords him a certain kind of access, so when his friend and frequent collaborator, Kanye west, made headlines, tip stepped in. You hear about slavery for 400 years? For 400 years? That sound like a choice. Have you avived at a place where you can understand why he would say something like slavery is a choice? I think his isolation and disconnect with people plus his fascination with power and fame, I think he's a little jaded, if you will. I do also believe when he says slavery was a choice, I don't think he meant it the way people took it. Reporter: Tip has been a fierce critic of the man west supports, Donald Trump. Panning an op-ed to the president condemning him for being hostile to the issues the black community cares about. Do you think it makes any difference when you say something? No, not at all, not to him. When I wrote the letter I wasn't necessarily addressing him, I was addressing his followers. I want them to know that that Ain't going to ride. I wanted them to know. Reporter: He acknowledges he is engaged in a difficult balancing act. Do you feel there's any tension or balancing act between being a role model to the community and to your kids and staying relevant in the rap game? Which sometimes doesn't always celebrate good behavior? Sure. Absolutely. You become boring at that point. I have enough things going on, I don't really have to -- I don't have to chase sensationalism. Rather than try to be a role model, I'd rather be a real model. What's going on? Reporter: To those who idolize him in his hometown, that seems to be enough. This is my home. And I always know if I can't go nowhere in the world and I don't mean anything to anybody, I'm a king right here. Georgia.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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