T.I. is the original King Of The South. In addition to the 10 million records he's sold as an artist, he's launched the careers of other artists like Iggy Azalea and Travi$ Scott via his Grand Hustle imprint, guested on Robin Thicke's mega-smash "Blurred Lines," starred in and executive-produced five seasons of TV with The Family Hustle on VH1, and appeared in big-budget Hollywood films like Ant-Man.

Even Empire's Lucious Lyon don't got it like that.

This past Friday Tip dropped a surprise new EP independently—through Empire Distribution, appropriately enough—that took his music back to the streets. Titled Da'Nic (slang for a nickel bag of bud, and since this release contains five songs...you get it), it's been in the Top Five album sales all weekend and currently sits at #7 on iTunes. Meanwhile, his next move is already underway.

"Having just exited my deal at Columbia, I was a rogue artist, busting creativity, just waiting to put music in the marketplace," T.I. tells us, "so while I'm sorting out my next situation, I'm blessed enough to be able to control my destiny and put music out as quickly as I want to, and was able to release a TIP album, which I had wanted to do for a long time."

He says he's working on his tenth album, The Dime Trap, to be released later this year. Among the producers he's collaborating with: Dr. Dre.

Stay tuned for further developments.