It was the promise of blessings for donations that rapper T.I. said triggered his now viral smirk, as guest preacher Bishop I.V. Hilliard pressed congregants to give sacrificially two Sundays ago at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
Speaking on his Apple Podcast “Expeditiously” with fellow rapper Killer Mike last Thursday, T.I. explained his facial expression, noting that Hilliard, pastor emeritus of New Light Christian Center Church in Houston, Texas, “had the nerve to say ‘c’mon y’all. Get your blessings heard.’”
“Are you telling me, I have to give $1,000 for the good Lord almighty to hear my blessings? … that’s probably when I made the face, as he says 'get your blessings heard,'” said T.I., whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. “This is extortion. At this point you’re telling these people they will not be blessed unless they give their money to you. And this is the problem I have with black churches. That was why I had that face.”
The problem is “with all church,” Killer Mike interjected.
T.I. and Killer Mike, known by his stage name Michael Santiago Render, are currently two of the nation’s most high-profile and outspoken rappers on social issues. And after watching Hilliard’s presentation along with several other celebrities who showed up at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest, Georgia, on Sept. 15, to support an installment of fellow rapper Kanye West’s “Sunday Service,” they both agreed that Hilliard used the Gospel to “con” churchgoers out of their money.
“It’s not that I have a thing against pastors or against preachers, so to speak,” said T.I. “It’s just I’ve been raised in the trenches, and I was taught to peep game You ain’t finna run no game on me. I will not be extorted.”
Photo credit Instagram/troubleman31