(TMZ) -- Sammy Sosa hates himself and that's why he's turning himself whiter ... that's according to T.I. who went in on the ex-MLB star when we got him out at LAX.

Sammy's complexion has very obviously changed over the years. TMZ can only find one interview where he addressed it -- from 2009 -- saying the lightening was an unexpected result of a skin softening cream. 

But T.I. ain't buyin' Sammy's excuse -- shaking his head and saying it was more about "self-hate" than moisturizing. 

If you don't know what Tip means, he's referring to the idea that black people who bleach their skin are doing it to fit in with a European beauty standard and are selling out their race, something a lot of black people think is despicable.

Then again, it's his life ... 

Photo: AOL