T.I. sets record straight: He still works with Iggy Azalea

ATLANTA (AP) — T.I. is setting the record straight: The rapper says he's still working with Iggy Azalea, despite reports claiming their business partnership was over after his recent radio interview.

In an interview with The Associated Press, T.I. said Thursday night that he still considers the Australian rapper his "little sister." He said his words were taken out of context after talking about their relationship during an interview on a New York radio station this week.

T.I. said Azalea is still signed to his Grand Hustle label. She said the same Thursday on Twitter.

"That's still my partner," T.I. said of Azalea, known for her hit song "Fancy." ''Her life has taken her in a different direction. My life is still as it was before. But Iggy is doing what she feels makes Iggy happy. That's what she should do. We're focused on making the next Iggy record and dodge the same adversities we faced last time."

During the radio interview, T.I. talked about the harsh criticism Azalea received about her music and trying to defuse a public feud between Azalea and rapper Q-Tip. Last year, Q-Tip tried to school Azalea on hip-hop's history and implied she had appropriated the black culture.

After T.I. attempted to bring peace between Q-Tip and Azalea, she fired back with a series of messages toward critics through Twitter. That's when T.I. felt he needed to step back and allow Azalea to have her space.

"It's definitely not a 'sever my ties, walk away, I'm upset' thing," he said. "It was more so like, OK, you have a lot on your plate right now. I'm going to pull back or wait until you come to a place where you're ready to come back to the table, so we can start again and make history some more."

Azalea's album "The New Classic" launched the hits "Fancy" and "Black Widow." The debut album earned a nomination for best rap album at the recent Grammy Awards. She beat Drake and Eminem in rap categories at the American Music Awards this year.

T.I. said Azalea hasn't reached out to him about his radio interview and reports, but he read some tweets Azalea sent Thursday. She said she was unaware of any problems between them and thought the radio was the wrong place to talk about personal issues.

"We speak to each other without having to speak to each other," he said. "It's funny sometimes, but we're straight."

Meanwhile, T.I. is focusing on his new EP, "Da Nic," which was released this week. It's his first independent project through Empire Distribution since he and Columbia Records parted ways.

T.I. said he won't turn down a major label offer if the price is right. But at this time, he's enjoying his freedom to make his own decisions. Under his alter-ego name Tip, he's hoping to release his 10th album, "The Dime Trap," this year.

"It's a perfect time to make a change," he said. "It's refreshing to be back on the grind like 'nose to the grindstone' and being back in the trenches."