T.I. (born Clifford Joseph Harris, 25.9.1980)
T.I. (also known as T.I.P.) is an American rapper and hip-hop artist. He is also the head of Grand Hustle Records.
T.I. was raised by his grandparents in Atlanta, Georgia. As a child, he was a drug dealer and earned himself the nickname 'Rubber Band Man' because the number of rubber bands on his arm indicated how much of his stash he had left.
He was originally named Tip by his great grandfather who was the record executive that discovered his talents. However, he later re-named himself T.I., mainly out if respect for Q-Tip, with whom he shared a label (LaFace Records, a subsidiary of Arista Records).
T.I.: Music Career
T.I.'s debut album, I'm Serious, was released in October 2001 on Arista Records. The title track was the lead single from the album and featured the controversial dancehall artist Beenie Man. Other guests on the album include the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams, Youngbloodz and Jazze Pha. The album did not sell as well as hoped, peaking at number 98 in the US album charts. Subsequently, T.I. was dropped from Arista.
Between his debut and second album, T.I. released a number of low-key mixtapes, aided by DJ Drama.
In 2003, T.I. appeared on the Bone Crusher song 'Never Scared'. This was followed by the release of his second album, Trap Muzik on the Grand Hustle Records label. The album went into the charts at number four, selling over 100,000 copies in the first week. This time, the guests on the album included Bun B, Macboney and Eightball. Kanye West was among the several producers on the album, as were David Banner and Madvac.
Whilst promoting the album, T.I. was charged with violating the probation terms of an earlier drugs offence and sentenced to three years in prison.
T.I.'s third album was Urban Legend and was released in 2004. The lead single, 'Bring 'Em Out' was hugely successful and was followed by 'U Don't Know Me' and 'ASAP'. Two years later, T.I. received two nominations at that year's Grammy Awards, for Best Song Collaboration (for his track 'Soldier', with Lil' Wayne and Destiny's Child) and for Best Rap Solo Performance (for 'U Don't Know Me').
King was T.I.'s fourth album and was released in 2006. The album went straight to number one in the Billboard 200 chart and sold over 520,000 in the first week of being on sale. T.I. added to his clutch of Grammy nominations when King was nominated for Best Rap Album. He also won the Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance' for 'What You Know'. T.I. also collaborated with Justin Timberlake on 'My Love', which became a global hit and won the Best Collaboration Grammy Award.
T.I.'s fifth album was named T.I. vs T.I.P. and featured the singles 'Big Things Poppin' (Do It)' and 'You Know What It Is', which featured Wyclef Jean of the Fugees. Mannie Fresh was among the producers on the album. Other guests on the album included Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z and Eminem. T.I. vs T.I.P. followed in the footsteps of King and went straight to the top of the Billboard album chart.
Paper Trail is T.I.'s sixth studio album and it was released in September 2008. The lead single from the album was 'No Matter What', followed by 'Swing Ya Rag', featuring Swizz Beatz and 'Whatever You Like', which became the best-selling single of his career. The track 'Swagga Like Us' featured Lil' Wayne, Jay-Z and Kanye West, whilst 'Dead and Gone' featured Justin Timberlake.
T.I.: Acting Career
In 2006, T.I. made his film acting debut in ATL, which also starred Lauren London, Evan Ross and Antoine Patton. He also appeared in American Gangster, along with RZA and Common.
T.I.: Personal Life
T.I. had a public violent altercation with the rapper Lil' Flip in Cloverland. The pair were forced by J. Prince to resolve the feud.
In 2007, T.I. was involved in another fight, this time with Chaka Zulu, who manages Ludacris.
T.I. is romantically involved with Tameka Cottle, former member of Xscape. They have two sons, Clifford King Joseph III and Major Philant. He also has two sons, Domani Uriah and Messiah Ya'Majesty with his previous girlfriend Lashon Dixon and a daughter Deyjah Imani from another relationship.