This article is about the rapper. For other uses, see TI (disambiguation).
Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr. (born September 25, 1980), better known by his stage name T.I. (and formerly Tip), is an American rapper, record producer, and actor. He signed his first major-label record deal in 1999, with Arista Records subsidiary, LaFace Records. In 2001, T.I. formed the Southern hip hop group Pimp Squad Click (P$C), alongside his longtime friends and fellow Atlanta-based rappers. Upon being released from Arista, T.I. signed to Atlantic Records and subsequently became the co-chief executive officer (CEO) of his own label imprint, Grand Hustle Records, which he launched in 2003.
T.I. has released nine studio albums (I'm Serious, Trap Muzik, Urban Legend, King, T.I. vs. T.I.P., Paper Trail, No Mercy, Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head and Paperwork), with the most recent seven being highly successful on the commercial market. Throughout his career, T.I. has also released several highly successful singles, such as "Bring Em Out", "What You Know", "Big Shit Poppin'", "Whatever You Like", "Live Your Life" (featuring Rihanna), "Dead and Gone" (featuring Justin Timberlake), "Ball" (featuring Lil Wayne) and "No Mediocre" (featuring Iggy Azalea). He has won three Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Solo Performance, Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
T.I. began to gain major recognition in 2003, after he was featured on fellow Atlanta-based rapper Bone Crusher's single, "Never Scared". He gained more prominence with the release of Trap Muzik (2003), which includes the Top 40 hits, "Rubber Band Man" and "Let's Get Away". In 2004, T.I. appeared on Destiny's Child's worldwide hit single, "Soldier", alongside Lil Wayne. His sixth album, Paper Trail (2008), became his most successful album to date, with first-week sales of 568,000 copies in the United States, making it T.I.'s third chart topping album in a row. It included three international hit singles, "Whatever You Like", "Live Your Life" and "Dead and Gone". In 2013, he was featured on Robin Thicke's hit single "Blurred Lines", alongside Pharrell Williams, which peaked at number one on several major music charts. In November 2013, T.I. announced that he had signed with Columbia Records, to release his ninth album, Paperwork (2014).
T.I. has served two terms in county jail, twice for probation violations and a federal prison bid for a U.S. federal weapons charge. While serving 11 months in prison, he released his seventh studio album, No Mercy (2010). T.I. has also had a successful acting career, starring in the films ATL, Takers and Identity Thief. He is also a published author, having written two novels Power & Beauty (2011) and Trouble & Triumph (2012), both of which were released to moderate success. T.I. has also starred in the American reality television series T.I.'s Road to Redemption and T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle. In 2009, Billboard ranked him as the 27th Artist of the 2000s decade.
1980-2000: Early life and career beginnings:
Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. was born on September 25, 1980, in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Clifford "Buddy" Harris, Sr. and Violeta Morgan. He was raised by his grandparents in Atlanta's Bankhead neighborhood. His father resided in New York, and he would often go there to visit. Buddy Harris suffered from Alzheimer's disease and died from the disease. T.I. began rapping at age eight. He attended Douglass High School, but later dropped out. As a teenager, he dealt drugs. By age 14, he had been arrested several times. His stage name originally came his childhood nickname "Tip", after his paternal great-grandfather. He was once known as Rubber Band Man, a reference to the custom of wearing rubber bands around the wrist to denote wealth in terms of drugs or money.
In 1996, T.I. befriended local rapper Big Kuntry King, T.I. who was already known around Atlanta as a skilled lyricist, and together they sold mixtapes out of the trunk of their car. Kawan "KP" Prather, a record executive, discovered T.I. and then signed him to his record label Ghet-O-Vision Entertainment. Upon signing with Arista Records subsidiary LaFace Records in 1999, he shortened his name from Tip to T.I., out of respect for Arista label-mate Q-Tip. T.I. relays the situation as:
We were both on Arista and we was trying to release my first album. The people who had to market, promote, and, you know, just spread the word on it communicated that it was somewhat difficult or confusing to have two Tips in one building. So out of respect and just the legendary reputation and career that preceded that situation, I definitely conceded. My problem, or conflict, at the time, was now this is what I've been called all my life, what do I change my name to? So, I guess, that began to hold my project up. 'What are we gonna call him?' You know what I'm saying? So at that point we had to come to some sort of a resolution. And KP, who signed me to LaFace, he just said, 'OK, look man, how about T.I.?' Cause on this one record I had, it was like, 'T-I-P.' I was like, 'Wait a minute, wait a minute. No. That was -- you left out a letter still!' You know what I'm saying? He was like, "Well, listen man. You got something better?', 'No, I don't have -- I don't have anything better.' 'Well, that's what we going with, man.' So it's kinda how it came about.
2001-02: I'm Serious:
T.I. released his debut album, I'm Serious, in October 2001 through Arista Records. The album spawned the eponymous single, which featured Jamaican reggae entertainer Beenie Man. His debut single, "I'm Serious," was released on June 26, 2001. The single received little airplay and failed to chart. The album features guest appearances from his Southern hip hop group P$C, Jazze Pha, Too Short, Bone Crusher, Lil Jon, Pastor Troy and YoungBloodZ, as well as Pharrell Williams of American record production team The Neptunes (who called him "the Jay-Z of the South"),. The album's production was handled by The Neptunes, DJ Toomp, Madvac and The Grand Hustle Team. Despite the album's guests appearances and production team, the album peaked at number 98 and only sold 163,000 copies in the United States. Critics pointed to the fact that many of the tracks sounded the same and that a few were blatant rip-offs. Other critics commented saying, "T.I. claims to be the king of the South, but fails to show and prove. He does, however, have potential. If his talent ever matches his confidence, he may be headed for stardom."
Due to the poor commercial reception of the album, T.I. was dropped from Arista Records. He then formed Grand Hustle Entertainment and began releasing several mixtapes with the assistance of DJ Drama. He resurfaced in the summer of 2003 alongside fellow Atlanta rapper and former label-mate Bone Crusher, on the song "Never Scared." His mixtapes and mainstream exposure from "Never Scared" eventually recaptured major label attention and he signed a joint venture deal with Atlantic Records.
2003-05: Trap Muzik and Urban Legend:
T.I. released his second album Trap Muzik on August 19, 2003 through Grand Hustle Records; it debuted at number four and sold 109,000 copies in its first week. It spawned the singles "24s", "Be Easy", "Rubberband Man" and "Let's Get Away". The album features guest appearances from 8Ball & MJG, Jazze Pha, Bun B and Mac Boney; and was produced by Jazze Pha, Kanye West, David Banner, Madvac and DJ Toomp. Upon its release, Trap Muzik received generally favorable reviews from most music critics, who generally regarded it as a major improvement over his debut album, I'm Serious. This included Complex naming the album one of the classic albums of the last decade in 2012. on February 20, 2013 allhiphop.com placed it as #5 as the best southern hip-hop album of all time. In March 2004, a warrant was issued for T.I.'s arrest after he violated his probation of a 1997 drug conviction. He was sentenced to three years in prison. While imprisoned in Cobb County, Georgia, he filmed an unauthorized music video. One month later, he was allowed a work release program.
T.I. was on probation stemming from a 1998 conviction for violating a state controlled substances act and for giving false information. After being released on probation, he earned a litany of probation violations in several counties around Georgia for offenses ranging from possession of a firearm to possession of marijuana. In 2006, after appearing in an Atlanta court on (May 10) and having charges that he threatened a man outside a strip club last year dropped for lack of evidence, T.I. was arrested on an outstanding probation violation warrant from Florida. The warrant claimed that T.I. did not complete the required number of community service hours he was sentenced for a 2003 battery of a female sheriff deputy at University Mall in Tampa. T.I. was detained by several mall Security Guards at the time of the incident. According to WSB-TV Atlanta, the rapper's attorney said that the problem was nothing more than a "technical matter" between Georgia and Florida. The confusion arose because T.I. was also sentenced to community service in Georgia for driving with a suspended license, for which he did complete 75 hours of community service in his home state. The rapper was released on bail shortly after being arrested, and was expected to surrender to Florida state authorities the following week to resolve the matter.
T.I. released his third studio album, Urban Legend, in November 2004. It debuted at number seven on the US Billboard 200, selling 193,000 copies in its first week. The album's lead single, "Bring Em Out", which was produced by Swizz Beatz, was released in January 2005 and became T.I.'s first top ten hit, peaking at number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100, while the second single "U Don't Know Me" peaked at number twenty-three on the US Billboard Hot 100. His third single "ASAP" reached number 75 on the US charts, number 18 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop charts and number 14 on the Rap chart. T.I. filmed a dual music video for "ASAP" and "Motivation". However, "Motivation" only made it to number 62 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop singles chart. In 2004, T.I. was featured on Destiny's Child's hit single "Soldier", alongside New Orleans-bred rapper Lil Wayne, which peaked at number three on the Hot 100 chart.
In 2006, T.I. received two Grammy Award nominations for Best Song Collaboration ("Soldier" w/ Destiny's Child & Lil Wayne) and Best Rap Solo Performance for "U Don't Know Me" at the 48th Grammy Awards ceremony. That same year he won Rap Artist of the Year, Rap Album Of The Year, Rap Album Artist Of The Year, Rap Song Artist of the Year and Video Clip Artist of the Year on the Billboard Music Award and Best Male Hip-Hop Artist on the BET Awards.
2006: King and ATL:
T.I.'s fourth album, King, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the first half of 2006, selling 522,000 copies in its first week. T.I. released "Front Back" and "Ride with Me" as promotional singles prior to the release of the album. The singles garnered little attention. The album's lead single "What You Know," became a hit in the U.S. and helped promote not only the album, but also ATL, the film T.I. starred in that coincided with the album's release. The album also spawned the singles, "Why You Wanna," "Live in the Sky," and a remix of "Top Back," which was also included on the Grand Hustle compilation album Grand Hustle Presents: In da Streetz Volume 4. King earned numerous awards and nominations including a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap Album. He was also featured on newly signed Grand Hustle artist Young Dro's debut single "Shoulder Lean", which reached the top ten on the U.S. Hot 100 and #1 on the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Tracks.
"What You Know" won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance and was nominated for Best Rap Song at the 49th Grammy Awards. Also that year, T.I. collaborated with Justin Timberlake for "My Love," which proved to be a worldwide hit, and won a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration with Timberlake at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards and also won Best Male Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Awards for the second straight time. He then served as a featured performer on "We Takin' Over" by DJ Khaled also featuring Akon, Fat Joe, Rick Ross, Birdman and Lil Wayne.
2007: T.I. vs. T.I.P. and federal weapons charges:
T.I. released his fifth album, T.I. vs. T.I.P., on July 3, 2007. The lead single from the album was "Big Shit Poppin' (Do It)," which was produced by Mannie Fresh and was released to radio stations on April 17, 2007. The second single, "You Know What It Is" featuring Wyclef Jean, was released June 12, 2007. T.I. vs. T.I.P. sold 468,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It was T.I.'s second chart-topper in a row: King opened at number one on the Billboard 200 with 522,000 copies in late March 2006. The album included guest performances from Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Wyclef Jean, Nelly, and Eminem, and production by Eminem, Jeff Bass, Mannie Fresh, Grand Hustle, The Runners, Just Blaze, Wyclef Jean and Danja. Absent from this album's production lineup was T.I.'s longtime producer DJ Toomp and The Neptunes. In October 2007, T.I. released his third single, "Hurt," featuring Busta Rhymes and Alfamega.
On October 13, 2007, federal authorities arrested T.I. four hours before the BET Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta. He was charged with two felonies -- possession of three unregistered machine guns and two silencers, and possession of firearms by a convicted felon. The arrest was made in the parking lot of a downtown shopping center, which a witness identified as the Walgreens drug store at the corner of North and Piedmont Avenues. T.I. was arrested after allegedly trying to purchase the guns from a "cooperating witness" with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. According to federal officials, the witness had been cooperating with authorities a few days prior to the T.I. arrest, when the cooperating witness was arrested on charges of trying to purchase guns from a federal agent. The witness had been working as T.I.'s bodyguard since July, authorities said. T.I. walked out of the Atlanta United States District Court after appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman on October 26, 2007. Judge Alan J. Baverman required T.I. post a $3 million bond, $2 million in cash and $1 million in equity on property he owns. The rapper was required to remain at home except for medical appointments and court appearances. The only people allowed to live with him were his girlfriend and children. Visitors were required to be approved by the court.
2008-09: Paper Trail and prison sentence:
T.I.'s suppression hearing was scheduled for February 19, 2008. The performer later pleaded guilty to U.S. federal weapons charges. He was sentenced to an undefined prison sentence, a year of house arrest and 1,500 hours of community service. In an interview with MTV about serving prison time, T.I. stated, "Presumably, while I'm there, I'll be able to strategize my comeback." He went on to say that he would not "just be sitting still doing nothing". At that time T.I. collaborated with Mariah Carey on the "I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time" remix, peaking at number 58 on the U.S. Hot 100 and number 36 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
While under house arrest, T.I. began writing lyrics down on paper for his following album. The first promotional single from the album, "No Matter What," was released in April 2008. The music video was released on June 2008 on MTV's FN Premieres. The second promotional single was "Swing Ya Rag" which featured vocals and production from Swizz Beatz. The official lead single was "Whatever You Like," released in July 2008, and became his most successful single of his career so far, breaking the record for the highest jump to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, jumping from number 71 to number one. Also becoming T.I.'s first solo number one on the chart. T.I. released his sixth album, Paper Trail, in September 2008. The title of the album refers to the lyrics he had written down on paper. Like many other rappers, T.I. abandoned this style of rapping after his debut album I'm Serious by just memorizing lyrics. His representative explained that T.I. wanted to "take more time to really put something down this time". The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 selling 568,000 copies in the United States.
The second single from the album, "Swagga Like Us", featuring Kanye West, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne, debuted and peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. With the third single "Live Your Life" featuring Rihanna, T.I. broke his own record on the Billboard Hot 100 when it jumped from number 80 to the number one. The fourth single "Dead and Gone", featuring Justin Timberlake, peaked at number two for five weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, eventually going on to be nominated during the 52nd Grammy Awards for both "Best Rap/Sung Collaboration" and "Best Rap Song". During the 51st Grammy Awards, he was nominated for four Grammy Awards, eventually winning Best Rap Performance by a Duo Or a Group for "Swagga Like Us". "Remember Me", featuring Mary J. Blige, was released digitally on July 7, 2009. It was the planned first single from the re-release of T.I.'s sixth studio album, "Paper Trail", but the re-release was eventually shelved. The single peaked at number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100. On October 6, "Hell of a Life" was released digitally and went on to peak at number 54 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2009, T.I. appeared as himself on an episode of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. On the episode, he took the comedienne to Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles in LA and gave her a lesson on how to "swagger."
On November 21, 2008, T.I. testified in the murder trial of a member of his entourage and a close friend, Philant Johnson (1980-2006), who was murdered in a shooting that occurred after a post-concert party at a club. T.I. has dedicated several songs to Johnson, from the single version of "Live in the Sky" to his more recent hit "Dead and Gone" where Johnson's grave can be seen in the video.
On March 27, 2009, U.S. District Judge Charles A. Pannell, Jr. sentenced T.I. to one year and one day in prison and ordered to pay $100,300 for federal weapons charges; T.I. had his sentence reduced from a maximum 10 years and a $250,000 fine with a plea bargain. On May 26, 2009, T.I. began serving his sentence in Forrest City, Arkansas. Two days prior to being imprisoned, T.I. performed a farewell concert at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. T.I. was released from FCC Forrest City on December 22, 2009 and was moved into a halfway house in Atlanta. T.I. had the Federal Bureau of Prisons ID 59458-019 and was released from CCM Atlanta on March 26, 2010. After his release from prison, he was subjected to an audit of his finances, drug counseling, DNA testing, and random searches of his property.
2010-11: No Mercy and drug charges:
On March 26, 2010, T.I. was released from the halfway house. Soon after his release he was in the studio working on his seventh studio album titled King Uncaged.Jim Jonsin, the producer who previously worked with him on his single, "Whatever You Like" and R&B singer Trey Songz, were scheduled to work on the project.
T.I. made his first public appearance since prison, stepping out with then fiancée Tameka "Tiny" Cottle in support of her Alzheimer's research fundraiser "For the Love of Our Fathers" at Atlanta's Opera venue. "I am very well, very happy to be seen," said T.I., who joined Cottle onstage at the end of the benefit. T.I. released a new promotional single titled "I'm Back" on March 8, 2010. The single peaked at #44 on Billboard's Hot 100 charts. Around this time, he made a featured guest appearance on Diddy-Dirty Money's single "Hello Good Morning", the single peaked at #27 in US and charted internationally in eight other countries.
He also made a guest appearance on Larry King Live on May 13, to discuss with Larry King about his nine-month prison term on federal gun charges and other topics. T.I. released a promotional soundtrack single entitled, "Yeah Ya Know (Takers)" on May 24. It peaked at number forty-four on Billboard Hot 100 and number sixty-eight on Canadian Hot 100. T.I. released another promotional single entitled; "Got Your Back" which featured American R&B singer Keri Hilson and peaked at number thirty-eight in the US. Later, T.I. made more featured single appearances such as Jamie Foxx's single "Winner" also featuring Justin Timberlake and Drake's single "Fancy" also featuring Swizz Beatz. Both singles made charted on the Billboard charts peaking at the top 50.
Prior to the album's release T.I. decided to release a mixtape titled Fuck a Mixtape; the move was somewhat controversial due to its title, with many feeling he was insulting the Mixtape format. T.I. has addressed the issue by stating that it was a response to all the people who told him to just focus on an album and not on a mixtape. T.I. further defended his decision to release a mixtape by saying: "I already have 60, 70 songs. A lot of these songs are period pieces that speak volumes to what's going on right now. If I hold onto them next year or the year after, they'll be dated, because my life will be in another direction. If I'm not gonna put it on the album -- and they all can't make the album -- then they might as well have another platform to present it to the world".
On September 1, T.I. and his wife Tiny were arrested on drug charges in Los Angeles. The arrest for drug charges led to T.I. being sentenced on October 15, 2010 to 11 months in prison for violating the terms of his probation, specifically for possessing ecstasy, testing positive for opiates and associating with a convicted felon. On October 25, the drug charges against T.I. were dropped.
T.I. scrapped King Uncaged as the title for his seventh studio album and renamed it No Mercy due to his new prison sentencing. He then released the lead single from the newly titled album, "Get Back Up" featuring Chris Brown, on the same day that he was sentenced back to prison for violating the terms of his probation. "Get Back Up" peaked at number seventy in the US. On November 1, T.I. reported back to the Forrest City Federal Facility to serve his 11-month sentence. His date of release was set to be September 29, 2011.
No Mercy was released on December 7, 2010. The album peaked at number four in the US and it sold over 159,000 copies in its first week. RIAA certified No Mercy Gold with over 500,000 copies sold. His second and final single from the album was "That's All She Wrote" his second collaboration with Eminem, and was released on December 19, peaking at number eighteen in the US.
T.I. was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Rap Solo Performance for "I'm Back" and Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group (Fancy with Drake and Swizz Beatz) at the 53rd Grammy Awards. He was also nominated for a Soul Train Music Award for Best Hip Hop Song of the Year for "Got Your Back" and he earned three BET Hip Hop Awards nominations for Hustler of the Year, Made You Look Award, and Best Club Banger for "Hello Good Morning".
In early June 2011, T.I. said in a letter: "I'll be releasing a record in the near future (couple of weeks tops) to hold y'all over til I get back in action." On June 30, 2011, a new song was released onto T.I.'s official website and on his official YouTube channel - titled "We Don't Get Down Like Y'all", which features fellow Grand Hustle rapper B.o.B on the hook. While commenting on the song, T.I. said in another letter; "It's a song that I did soon after my release last time. What inspired me to write this record was the differences in how we do us and how they do them suddenly became incredibly evident in just a very short period of time." It was originally only available on Atlantic Records's online store. The song was available on iTunes and other vendors, such as Spotify on August 9 and it peaked at number seventy-eight in the US.
On August 31, T.I. was released from Forrest City Correctional Facility in Arkansas at 7:29 a.m. and was sent to a community living facility to serve out the rest of his 11-month prison sentence. He then released a statement on Twitter saying: "The storm is over & da sun back out. IT'S OUR TIME TO SHINE SHAWTY!!!!! Welcome to the beginning of our Happy Ending!!!!" T.I. inked a deal with VH1 for a new reality show that will follow him as he re-adjusts to life as a free man after the incarceration and he also announced he working on a novel entitled, Power & Beauty which was set to be released in October. He was sent back to federal custody on September 1, less than 48 hours after his release due to a dispute involving T.I. taking a luxury bus from a prison in Arkansas to a halfway house facility in Atlanta. T.I.'s attorney, Steve Sadow, told the Associated Press that the Federal Bureau of Prisons has moved T.I. to a different facility and clarified that the dispute was not drug related. T.I. was later released from prison and was sent back to the halfway house, where he was released on September 29, at midnight.
2011-13: Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head:
On September 30, 2011, T.I. released "I'm Flexin'", the first promotional single from his upcoming eighth studio album. The song features vocals and production from Big K.R.I.T.. T.I. reunited with Young Jeezy on "F.A.M.E." for Jeezy's album TM103. "I'm Flexin" peaked at number sixty-six on Billboard Hot 100, while "F.A.M.E." peaked at number sixty-seven on Billboard Hip Hop/R&B. On October 18, T.I. made appearances on The Howard Stern Show and The View to promote his new novel, Power & Beauty: A Love Story of Life on the Streets and discuss other issues involving his time in prison. Later that day, he released the second promotional single, "Here Ye, Hear Ye" featuring Pharrell Williams under the alias Sk8brd.
After his release from prison, T.I. appeared on several remixes including; "Spend It" by 2 Chainz, "Sleazy" by Kesha, "Niggas in Paris" with Jay-Z and Kanye West, "Hard White (Up in the Club)" by Yelawolf also featuring Slaughterhouse, "Ima Boss" by Meek Mill alongside a freestyle over Drake's "Headlines", and Lil Wayne's "She Will". He was also featured on southern rapper Future's second single "Magic", taken from his debut studio album Pluto, which was the first song he hopped on after his release from prison according to Future.
T.I. revealed the title of his eighth studio album to be Trouble Man. The title was partly inspired by Marvin Gaye's 1972 song of the same name, he revealed on Billboard. In a previous interview with Rolling Stone; he said he was debating between two titles, Trouble Man and Kill the King. The third promotional single "Pyro", was released on November 21. On December 5, his new reality show "T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle" premiered on Vh1 at 9p after the first full episodes were leaked onto the internet.
In preparation for the album, T.I. released a mixtape entitled, Fuck da City Up on New Year's Day. Two songs off the mixtape charted on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, "Popped Off", featuring vocals and production from Dr. Dre and "This Time of Night" featuring Nelly, respectively.
While on set for the "Strange Clouds" music video, MTV interviewed B.o.B and confronted him of a rumor that he and T.I. are working on a collaborative album. B.o.B responded: "The joint album, it actually started as a joke. Tip would always refer to me as 'the Martian', and in one of his lyrics, he said, 'It's the man and the Martian,' and we said, 'Man that could be an album title.' We kinda just played around with it. But it seems to be taking form in a very organic way." On December 1, 2011, B.o.B appeared on New York City's Hot 97 radio station and confirmed that he and T.I. are indeed working on a collaborative album titled The Man and the Martian.
On March 1, 2012, T.I. announced he signed Iggy Azalea, Chipmunk and Trae Tha Truth to Grand Hustle Records. He was executive producer on Azalea's debut extended play Glory and was featured on her debut single "Murda Bizness", which premiered March 26, 2012. On March 30, T.I. released a snippet of "Love This Life", Trouble Man's promotional single, produced by Mars of 1500 or Nothin'. The song was officially released on April 2, where the song peaked at number eight-one in the US.
T.I. joined singer Sean Kingston for his new single "Back 2 Life (Live It Up)". He shot the video for the track, which also sampled Soul II Soul's 1989 chart-topping hit "Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)". The song peaked at number fifty-two in Canada. During his visit to Angie Martinez's radio show, he revealed that the album will be released on September 4. He recorded collaborations with Trey Songz and Usher. "It's just a dope, dope collabo". "Usher and Tip, two Atlanta natives," Rico Love told Rap-Up.com. "This time I finally feel like they got a record that's gonna be a humongous hit." T.I.'s VH1 reality show T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle was renewed for a second season, which airs on September 3. T.I. released another promotional song off Trouble Man on May 15, entitled "Like That". T.I. appeared on Trey Songz's second single off his album Chapter V titled "2 Reasons". The song peaked at number forty-three in the US. Another promotional single off Trouble Man, entitled "Go Get It" was released on July 17. The song peaked at number seventy-seven and number eighty-six in Canada.
In September, T.I. appeared on 106 & Park to promote his book "Trouble & Triumph", a sequel to his previous novel "Power & Beauty". During his visit, he announced a new release date for his album set for December 18. He revealed that the album will feature collaborations from Pharrell, André 3000, CeeLo Green, R. Kelly, Lil Wayne, and ASAP Rocky. He also stated that he's working on a women's clothing line from A.K.O.O.. He later released a new song "Trap Back Jumpin'", which he premiered during his visit on Angie Martinez's radio show. On October 9, 2012, T.I. was featured on the annual BET Hip Hop Awards cypher, alongside his Grand Hustle artists Iggy Azalea, B.o.B, Chip and Trae tha Truth.
A song titled "Ball", was released on October 16, as the lead single from his upcoming eighth studio album. The song featured fellow American rapper Lil Wayne and was produced by American record producer Rico Love, alongside Earl & E. The song peaked at number fifty in the US and number fifty-eight in the Canada. On October 23, he previewed twelve tracks from the album at its listening party in New York City, and also revealed their titles. The tracks previewed feature artists such as Kendrick Lamar.
In the following month, T.I. leaked the illustrated cover art from his newly named album entitled, Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head along with the track list and a few newly added features from the album. T.I. explained, "I think it's a lot more urban than Paper Trail, and less apologetic than No Mercy. I think it's more diversified than T.I. vs. T.I.P. though. It's got a lotta heart, it's got a lotta edge. It's a creative album. It's probably harder than most of the shit that's coming out right now." "Sorry" featuring Andre 3000 was released as the fifth promotional single via iTunes on November 27. "Sorry" peaked at number 36 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Then "Hello" featuring CeeLo Green was released to iTunes on December 11 as the sixth promotional single. The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 179,000 copies in the United States. As of September 2, 2013, it has sold 502,000 copies.
Shortly before Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head was released, T.I. announced he would release the sequel as his next album, titled Trouble Man II: He Who Wears the Crown. The sequel is due to T.I. recording more material than needed, being cited by T.I. as much as 120 songs. In early January 2013, B.o.B announced an upcoming Grand Hustle compilation album titled Hustle Gang. On January 18, 2013 it was announced T.I. drew a close to his 10-year contract with Atlantic records the month before, after releasing Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head. It was reported he proposed a $75 million deal for any label that wants to provide a home for him and his imprint. TMZ reported that T.I. has drawn up the details, which include "3 albums, 10-20 percent of publishing, touring, merchandise, film and TV rights, corporate endorsement deals, as well as exclusive signing of all Grand Hustle artists". T.I. was also allegedly being coaxed by some of the biggest names in the industry. There were reports that Jay-Z was looking to sign T.I., hoping to add him to the Roc Nation roster. T.I. also had an exclusive dinner at Katana with Dr. Dre, who is thought to have proposed an Interscope signing to the rapper. T.I. had also met with Sony, who offered him $50 Million, and spoke with Universal later that week.
In February 2013, T.I. revealed he chose "Hello", as the third official single from Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head. According to T.I., the CeeLo Green-featured song was selected due to its heavy radio play. On March 8, 2013 T.I. told Rap-Up that he was already 60-70% completed with Trouble Man II: He Who Wears the Crown. He also spoke on the Grand Hustle compilation, Hustle Gang, which B.o.B announced earlier in January. In March 2013, T.I. revealed he would soon be filming the music video for "Hello". On March 19, 2013 T.I. performed "Hello" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. In March, T.I. and B.o.B filmed the music video for "Memories Back Then", a song featuring Kendrick Lamar and Kris Stephens. The song, which was recorded for Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head, originally sampled "Somebody That I Used to Know", as performed by Gotye. T.I. said to Rap-Up. Although the track failed to appear on Trouble Man, due to sample-clearance issues, it was released as the lead single from the Hustle Gang compilation album.
2013-present: Columbia Records and Paperwork:
On March 26, 2013, T.I. appeared alongside Pharrell, on Robin Thicke's lead single "Blurred Lines" from his album of the same name. The song quickly became a worldwide hit and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, making it T.I.'s fourth number one Hot 100 single. The song has also reached number one in 13+ countries, including the United Kingdom and Germany. In March 2013, Lil Wayne announced T.I. would be co-headlining the second America's Most Wanted Tour. T.I. explained that the tour would begin on July 5 and go through September 1, 2013. American rappers French Montana and 2 Chainz, were later confirmed to join the tour, among others. The first America's Most Wanted Tour, had taken place five years prior and featured Young Jeezy, Soulja Boy, Pleasure P, Jeremih and Young Money. On May 21, 2013, T.I. released a single titled "Wit Me" featuring Lil Wayne. The song was released in promotion for the tour and peaked at number 80 on the Hot 100 chart.
In a July 2013 interview, with Power 98 FM, T.I. spoke on his then-upcoming album, Trouble Man II: He Who Wears the Crown. While he didn't reveal many album specifics, he did promise a project that would make whoever decides to distribute the album very "happy": "I've been working on this one since the last one dropped. I haven't decided exactly where I'm going to take the new album yet as far as a company for distribution, but wherever I take it, there's going to be some happy people in that building." In September 2013, T.I. was featured throughout Lil Wayne's twelfth solo mixtape Dedication 5. On September 1, 2013, it was revealed that T.I. would be featured on American pop star Lady Gaga's album ARTPOP, on the song "Jewels n' Drugs", alongside fellow American rappers Too Short and Twista. Another pop star, Britney Spears, later announced T.I. would appear on her song "Tik Tik Boom", from her eighth studio album Britney Jean (2013).
On November 22, 2013, T.I. announced that he had signed a deal with Columbia Records, to release his upcoming ninth studio album. T.I. revealed he recruited Pharrell Williams, who was influential in his move to Columbia, to executive produce the LP, with plans to release the album in early 2014. In December 2013, T.I. revealed although he had originally planned to release Trouble Man II, since getting into the studio with the album's executive producer, Pharrell Williams, he had a change of heart. He stated: "Since we started working on the project and the project started has taken a different shape, I think we're going to postpone that title. We're gonna rework that. I got a couple of things in mind." He still plans to release the sequel to Trouble Man, however, he said: "All I'ma say is, it's gonna be a motion picture, it's gonna be a theatrical-worthy title. Something that will definitely seem instant classic. I'm thinking something like 'Trap Champion', 'Paperwork,' but whatever it is the subtitle will be 'The Motion Picture'." On December 16, 2013, it was reported that T.I. decided to name it Paperwork.
On May 9, 2014, T.I. released a music video for a song titled "Turn It", in promotion for Paperwork. On June 3, 2014, T.I. released a song titled "About the Money", via digital distribution. The song, which serves as the first single from Paperwork, features up-and-coming Atlanta-based rapper Young Thug. The music video for "About the Money", directed by T.I. and Kennedy Rothchild, was released on June 2, 2014. On June 17, 2014, T.I. release the second single from Paperwork, a song titled No Mediocre, which was produced by West Coast hip hop producer DJ Mustard and features a guest verse from his protege Iggy Azalea. Since its release "No Mediocre", reached the Top 40 on the Hot 100 chart and was certified gold by the RIAA.
On August 20, 2014, one day after speaking out on America in his online treatise about Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, T.I. released a new song titled "New National Anthem." The song, which features vocals from American singer-songwriter Skylar Grey, includes socially conscious lyrics centered on racism and injustice. On September 23, 2014, Paperwork was made available for pre-order with "New National Anthem" as the "instant gratification track". Also on September 23, the official audio for "New National Anthem" was released via T.I.'s official VEVO account. T.I.'s ninth album Paperwork, was released on October 21, 2014,. Upon its release, the album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 80,000 copies in the United States.Paperwork received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 70, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on 10 reviews.
In 2006, T.I. starred in his first film, ATL, which was loosely based on the rapper's life growing up in Atlanta and attending a skating rink called "Cascade". The other cast members included Lauren London, Antwan Patton, Evan Ross, Mykelti Williamson, Jason Weaver and Keith David. ATL, which was written by Tina Gordon Chism and Antwone Fisher, was produced by Timothy M. Bourne, Tionne Watkins and Will Smith, and was directed by Christopher Robinson. T.I. played the character Rashad Swann, an orphaned 17-year-old senior in high school. In its opening weekend, the film grossed a total of $11.5 million, ranking third in the United States box office, and went on to gross $21.2 million. In 2007, T.I. appeared in his second feature-film, the biographical crime film American Gangster, as Stevie Lucas, the nephew of drug kingpin Frank Lucas.
In 2010, T.I. starred in the crime action thriller film Takers (originally titled Bone Deep), as Delonte "Ghost" Rivers. The film, directed by John Luessenhop, was produced by William Packer, Michael Ealy, Tom Lassally, Jason Geter, Gary Gilbert and T.I. himself. The film was released on August 27, 2010 through Grand Hustle Films and Rainforest Films, distributed by Screen Gems. The film also includes Chris Brown, Idris Elba, Matt Dillon, Paul Walker, Hayden Christensen, and Zoe Saldana. Takers debuted at number one at the American box office at 20.5 million in its opening weekend. T.I. also starred in the 2013 crime comedy film Identity Thief, appearing as a criminal named Julian, alongside actor Génesis Rodríguez.
On August 18, 2014, it was announced that T.I. had been added to the cast of Marvel's upcoming film Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd.
Music and film producing:
T.I. has also served as an executive producer for several projects other than his own, including New Orleans-based rapper B.G.'s tenth album Too Hood 2 Be Hollywood (2009), Atlanta-based rapper B.o.B's debut album The Adventures of Bobby Ray (2010) and Australian rapper Iggy Azalea's debut EP Glory (2012), among others. Additionally in 2005, T.I. had executive produced the soundtrack to the film Hustle & Flow, releasing the collection through his record label, Grand Hustle. Furthermore T.I. has produced several song recordings, including for Mariah Carey, Cassidy, Rick Ross, Maino, B.o.B, Yung Joc, Young Dro and himself. T.I. also severed as a ghostwriter and assisting songwriter, for several artists, such as Bow Wow, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Dr. Dre, Bun B and Keyshia Cole. In 2009, T.I. formed a record production team called The Smash Factory, composed of T.I., Lil' C and Mars.
In 2006, T.I. launched his own film company, Grand Hustle Films. In late 2007, T.I. linked up with Los Angeles-based production company 828 Entertainment, to executive produce a reality show titled Life on Mars, which chronicles the life of young prodigy music producer LaMar "MARS" Edwards, of production team 1500 or Nothin'. T.I. partnered 828 Entertainment with his company Grand Hustle, to produce a slate of both television and film projects. T.I. also created a reality show, which aired on MTV, titled T.I.'s Road to Redemption.
As of June 2014, T.I. is confirmed as an executive producer for the Oxygen docu-series, Sisterhood of Hip Hop.
In addition to helping with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, T.I. worked with troubled youths at Paulding Detention Center in Atlanta, provided scholarships for single parent families at Boys and Girls Clubs, and headlined the Boost Mobile Rockcorps concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall, which featured such performers as Fat Joe, Slim Thug, and Kanye West, and was held exclusively for community service volunteers. As part of his community service time, T.I. has come to a number of middle-grade and high schools in Georgia, where he speaks with the students in an assembly holding a positive message, while maintaining a philanthropic view about morals and growing up in the same areas as himself. In June 2005, The Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes Foundation, named for the deceased member of multi-platinum female group TLC, and Atlanta's V-103 honored T.I. with the 2005 Lisa Lopes Award for groundbreaking achievements in music and community service which was court ordered. With this steady list of growing accomplishments T.I. is being recognized as the "Jay-Z of the South," according to Pharrell Williams of multi-platinum production team The Neptunes.
T.I.'s night club, Club Crucial, hosted a giveaway of 200 bicycles to neighborhood children in the Boys and Girls Club with V-103 announcer Greg Street. Upon being asked his opinion on Obama supporting gay marriage, he responded that people should be free to do what they want to do.
Forbes Magazine announced its first ever Hip-Hop Cash Kings list early 2007 with list of the top 20 hip-hop earning artists for the previous business year. T.I. was listed on their list three times.
T.I. opened his own nightclub, Club Crucial in Bankhead, Atlanta. It is considered one of the most popular clubs in Atlanta and features full entertainment centers with large flat screen TVs, pool rooms, VIP rooms, food, etc. Celebrities such as Monica, Big Boi, Mike Epps, Shawty Lo make appearances there. The club also hosts weekly events such as Monday night Open Mic Night, Free Fridays, and Celebrity Saturdays where local hip-hop artists are known to come perform their songs at the club.
Chevrolet secured an endorsement deal with T.I. earlier in 2007 to promote their line of cars, with a focus on the new Impala. Due to his arrest for federal gun charges, he was on the verge of losing his deal with the company.
T.I. had an endorsement with a social networking website focusing on the hip-hop culture named StreetCred. The website was founded in 2007 by investment banker Rocky Williform. Celebrities such as Diddy, Lil' Kim, and Jeezy had accounts on the website. As of 2008, the website was temporarily shut down until further notice. On June 29, T.I. was named Global Creative Consultant of Rémy Martin Cognac. XXL Magazine revealed that the partnership will include collaborative projects and a focus on continuing the philanthropic works of his K.I.N.G. Foundation. He also announced on Chelsea Lately that he will be releasing his own signature brand of the liquor. T.I. lost his endorsement deal with Axe body spray after his arrest for drug possession. He has invested money in a social marketing app, called Yopima.
See also: Hip hop rivalry
A dispute with Ludacris started when T.I. saw Disturbing tha Peace rapper I-20's video. In the video, a man wearing a shirt which said "Trap House" was being beaten. T.I. mistook the logo to refer to "Trap Muzik". G-Unit artist Young Buck asked fellow Southern rappers T.I. and Ludacris to appear on his new record on the track "Stomp". T.I. recorded a verse which contained a line that Young Buck considered to be an underhanded snub towards Ludacris: "Me gettin' beat down?/That's ludicrous/". Young Buck spoke to Ludacris about the verse, to maintain his neutrality in the controversy. Ludacris then recorded the verse that can be found on the album. T.I's record company wanted Ludacris to change his verse before they sanctioned it but Ludacris refused and T.I. was therefore replaced by Game on the album version.
On June 24, 2007, at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood, California, T.I. was involved in a brawl. During a luncheon held by Kevin Liles of Warner Music Group (parent company of T.I.'s label, Atlantic Records), the MC got into a fight with Ludacris' manager Chaka Zulu. According to witnesses, T.I. punched Zulu in the face and choked him and a brief melee ensued.
T.I. brought home the award for Best Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Awards, and took the opportunity to apologize for his scuffle with Disturbing tha Peace executive Chaka Zulu earlier in the week. While accepting his award, he expressed regret over the situation. "They say it's a fine line between brilliance and insanity," he said, in an apparent reference to his troublesome alter ego, T.I.P. During the broadcast, cameras showed his onetime rival Ludacris smiling in the audience. The audience stood up and applauded T.I.
The two rappers have since resolved the dispute and have collaborated on two songs: "Wish You Would" on Ludacris's sixth studio album, Theater of the Mind, and "On Top of the World" on T.I.'s sixth studio album, Paper Trail. The original version of the latter had Kanye West.
While T.I. was incarcerated in 2004, another popular southern rapper, Lil Flip, took issue with him over his "King of the South" claims which launched a much publicized feud. In an October 26, 2004 interview with HipHopDX.com, T.I. said he'd heard comments about Flip's "lyrical ability" for a long time but told music journalist Bayer Mack he didn't speak on it because he "wasn't raised like that". T.I. said he was also upset Lil' Flip waited until his incarceration to criticize him. According to AllHipHop, T.I. and Lil' Flip had an altercation in Lil' Flip's neighborhood, the Cloverland section of Houston. It has been said that T.I. went there to create a DVD exposing Lil' Flip to be a fraud. When T.I. went to Cloverland with his entourage, he was met by Flip and his people. Then it was said a fight broke out with one of the members of Lil Flip's entourage started swinging at T.I. until one of T.I.'s bodyguards started shooting. The same day T.I. went on a Houston, Texas radio station talking about the altercation. He revealed that he had the tape and he was going to release it with an upcoming mixtape, but that did not happen because James Prince stopped him from distributing the tape. It is unknown whether T.I. still has the tape or not. The feud was squashed by Rap-a-Lot's Prince after having them sit down and resolve their feud. The feud was documented by the Houston Press.
In 2008, T.I. was involved in a highly publicized feud with Shawty Lo. The feud was characterized by Shawty Lo's track "Dunn Dunn", and T.I.'s reply in "What Up, What's Haapnin". The song "Dunn Dunn" appears to question T.I.'s roots in Bankhead. The music video for "What Up, What's Haapnin" was shot in Shawty Lo's housing project Bowen Homes, an apparent insult towards Shawty Lo. In an interview, T.I. insisted that his song "No Matter What" was only partially aimed at Shawty Lo.
The feud reached its climax at the November 2008 Dirty Awards where the entourages of both artists clashed during the ceremony, forcing it to be shut down. Two incidents forced police to use pepper-spray and evacuate the audience.
The feud was publicly squashed on March 7, 2009, when Shawty Lo and T.I. appeared on-stage together at Club Crucial in Bankhead, for T.I.'s farewell concert. After this performance, T.I. gave an interview to MTV, in which he stated that the feud with Shawty Lo was exaggerated by the media, and was not a 'beef'.
T.I. has been in a relationship with former Xscape member Tameka "Tiny" Cottle since 2001. The couple married on July 30, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. Together, they have three children: sons Clifford "King" Joseph Harris III, born August 25, 2004, and Major Philant Harris, born May 16, 2008, and daughter Lelah Amore Harris, who was stillborn on March 22, 2007 six months into the pregnancy.
In addition, T.I has 2 sons by Lashon Dixon: Messiah Ya' Majesty Harris, born on February 2, 2000, and Domani Uriah Harris, born on March 16, 2001. T.I. also has a daughter named Deyjah Imani Harris, born on June 17, 2001, from a relationship with American R&B singer Ms. Niko.
Through his marriage to Cottle, T.I. has one stepdaughter, Zonnique Jailee Pullins, born in 1996 to Cottle and Zonnie Zebo Pullins.
Rescue of suicidal men:
On October 13, 2010, T.I. convinced Joshua Starks, a 24-year-old suicidal man in Atlanta, not to jump from a 22-story building. After hearing of the situation on the radio, he drove to the scene at the 400 Colony Square Building asked police if he could help. T.I. then talked to the man, and convinced him not to jump. Afterwards, T.I. stated "For one, I'm not taking any credit. I didn't do it... I could've just as well came down there and it could have been resolved in another way. The fact of the matter is that God put me in a position to help, and I can't take any credit for that."
On another occasion, T.I. was at the scene of Creed singer Scott Stapp's suicide attempt. Stapp explained on a VH-1 television show that he had attempted suicide in Miami by jumping off a balcony and T.I. "took care of the situation".
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license