Grand Hustle Records also known as Hustle Gang Music is an Atlanta, Georgia-based record label founded in 2003, by American hip hop recording artist T.I. and business partner Jason Geter. It currently operates as an independent record label. Up until December 2012, the label was distributed by Atlantic Records. The label is home to artists such as B.o.B, Young Dro, Trae tha Truth, 8Ball & MJG, Killer Mike, Doe B and Travis Scott, among others. The label has released 20 albums in total, with nine of them being certified Gold or higher, by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Also, the label has released four US number one albums, including King (2006), T.I. vs. T.I.P. (2007), Paper Trail (2008) and The Adventures of Bobby Ray (2010).
2003-2011: Beginnings and various signings:
Due to the poor commercial reception of his debut album, I'm Serious, 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. 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". 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.
From 2002 - 2004, fellow Bankhead-based rapper Alfamega, released several mixtapes, gaining local recognition. In 2005, this led to a deal with T.I.'s Grand Hustle Records. In July 2005, the label released the soundtrack to the film Hustle & Flow. Also in 2005, T.I. added American soul singer-songwriter Governor, to the Grand Hustle roster, after Atlantic Records chose T.I. to act as his mentor. Atlantic Records' plan for Governor, who joined Atlantic's roster almost four years prior, was to market him a devotee, or a card-carrying member of T.I.'s "camp.". Atlantic first tried to pair him with renowned record producer Dr. Dre, and then with gangsta rapper 50 Cent. Both plans fell through. In search of quick jolt of street credibility, the label brokered a deal for the singer to join T.I.'s imprint. After appearing on several of DJ Drama's Gangsta Grillz mixtapes, Governor later released his Grand Hustle debut Son of Pain, in September 2006.
By early 2006, T.I. had signed fellow Bankhead-based rapper Young Dro, to the label. Young Dro's signing proved to be successful after the release of the popular single "Shoulder Lean", in the summer of 2006. It had heavy rotation on BET and MTV2, and its cellular phone ringtone sold over 500,000 units. The hit single is featured on Dro's major-label debut Best Thang Smokin', released in late August the same year. In December 2006, the label released Grand Hustle Presents: In da Streetz Volume 4, a compilation album featuring contributions from several Grand Hustle artists including aforementioned newcomers Alfamega, Young Dro and Governor. The compilation's title comes from a mixtape series entitled In da Streetz, that T.I. and his hip hop ensemble Pimp Squad Click (P$C), released in their early careers.
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. 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. The witness had been working as T.I.'s bodyguard since July, authorities said.
In May 2008, T.I. signed up-and-coming musician B.o.B, who signed a joint partnership deal with super producer Jim Jonsin's Rebel Rock Entertainment and T.I.'s Grand Hustle labels respectively, with Atlantic Records. The deal took place after Atlantic determined that B.o.B could benefit from being introduced to the world by such a well-established artist such as T.I.. B.o.B was later featured on T.I.'s highly acclaimed album Paper Trail (2008), on the track "On Top of the World", which also featured T.I.'s former rival Ludacris. In June 2008, T.I. announced the signing of veteran Southern hip hop duo 8Ball & MJG to Grand Hustle, during his Hot 107-9 Birthday Bash. In December 2008, Killer Mike, whom T.I. previously collaborated with on 2003's "Never Scared", confirmed he signed to Grand Hustle.
In 2008, T.I. also signed Philadelphia-based rapper Meek Mill to Grand Hustle. Although he was offered other record deals, Mill felt collaborating with T.I. was an opportunity of a lifetime and chose his label. Just when things were starting to look up for Mill, a set back occurred. He was arrested, charged with a crime and order to serve seven months in jail. Mill was then released during the early portion of 2009. Due to label boss T.I.'s and Mill's respective legal troubles, Mill was never able to release an album under Grand Hustle and they parted ways in 2010.
In 2008, P$C member AK, also known as AK the Razorman, began to express his discontent with the label and his longtime friend T.I.: In a 2011 interview with Inday, a Grand Hustle marketing promoter, he confirmed AK and Yung L.A. were no longer a part of the label. In May 2009, T.I. released rapper Alfamega, who signed in 2005, after reports surfaced of his past as a DEA informant. A short-lived feud between the two later embroiled, with Alfamega releasing a diss track titled "Greenlight", in March 2010.
On September 1, 2010, 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. However on October 25, the drug charges against T.I. were dropped. 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. His seventh album No Mercy, was released on December 7, 2010, during his imprisonment. 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.
2012-present: Hustle Gang:
On March 1, 2012, T.I. revealed he signed rappers Iggy Azalea, Chip and Trae Tha Truth to Grand Hustle Records. T.I. was then executive producer on Azalea's debut EP Glory and was featured on the lead single "Murda Bizness", which premiered March 26, 2012. The EP was later released on July 30, 2012. On October 9, 2012 T.I., Iggy Azalea, B.o.B, Chip and Trae tha Truth, were all featured on the annual BET Hip Hop Awards cypher, where they all took turns rapping, showcasing their abilities. In 2012, Chip, formerly known as Chipmunk, also released his first project with Grand Hustle, a mixtape entitled London Boy. The mixtape, which features several appearances from Grand Hustle artists, including Iggy Azalea and T.I on the posse cut, "Hustle Gang", was released on December 25, 2012. 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. had drawn up the details, which included 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 reportedly offered him $50 Million, and spoke with Universal later that week.
In March 2013, T.I. and B.o.B filmed the music video for "Memories Back Then", a song featuring Kendrick Lamar and Kris Stephens. The song, which was recorded for Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head, failed to appear on Trouble Man due to sample-clearance issues, it was announced to be being released as the lead single from the upcoming Grand Hustle Presents: Hustle Gang compilation album. The music video for "Memories Back Then", directed by Philly Fly Boy, was released April 22, 2013. The song was then officially released via iTunes the next day. The song has since debuted at #88 on the Billboard Hot 100.
On April 4, T.I. revealed the label would release a mixtape titled, G.D.O.D. (Get Dough Or Die), during the first week of May 2013, preceding the compilation album. On April 19, 2013, T.I. formally introduced GOOD Music producer Travi$ Scott and Grammy Award winning songwriter Kris Stephens, as Grand Hustle signees. On April 28, a release date for the mixtape would later be announced to be May 7, 2013. As promised the mixtape was released on May 7, featuring 20 tracks and contributions from Grand Hustle artists T.I., Mitchelle'l, B.o.B, Young Dro, Big Kuntry King, Trae tha Truth, D.O.P.E., Travi$ Scott, Chip, Kris Stephens, Mac Boney, Doe B and Shad da God. "Problems", "Poppin' 4 Sum", "Kemosabe", and "Here I Go" were released as singles from the mixtape over the following months. In a May 8, 2013 interview, T.I. said that he was in talks of possibly signing American recording artists Yo Gotti, Problem, Jeremih and Kirko Bangz to Grand Hustle.
On December 28, 2013, Glenn Thomas, better known by his stage name Doe B, died after being shot in his home state of Alabama. His manager DJ Frank White confirmed Doe B's death via Twitter. In February 2014, Grand Hustle collaborated with DJ Whoo Kid, DJ Skee and DJ MLK, to release the compilation mixtape SXEW Vol. 1: The Grand Hustle, the trio's annual SXSW inspired mixtape. The mixtape features appearances from T.I., Young Dro, Trae Tha Truth, Iggy Azalea and Doe B, the latter of which is featured on a song with T.I. and American rapper Raekwon, titled "I Wanna Know".
In an August 2014 interview with MTV, T.I. revealed plans to release the Grand Hustle compilation, which is tentatively due in December, following Paperwork: The Motion Picture: "What's holding up the Hustle Gang project is that we have some new additions to the mix, and we didn't wanna put out the project out without including or allowing those new additions to be part of it. Maybe we'll do a stroke of midnight release on New Years. We did that with F**k Da City Up and it did well, so maybe we'll try that again."
8Ball & MJG (Grand Hustle, E1),
Big Kuntry King (Grand Hustle, Bread Box Muzic),
B.o.B (Grand Hustle, Rebel Rock, Atlantic),
Chip (Grand Hustle, CMAR),
Shad da God,
Doe B (Deceased-December 28, 2013) ,
Killer Mike (Grand Hustle, SMC, Grind Time),
Mitchelle'l (Grand Hustle, Def Jam),
OMG Girlz (Grand Hustle, Interscope),
T.I. (Grand Hustle, Columbia),
Trae tha Truth (Grand Hustle, ABN, Asylum),
Travi$ Scott (Grand Hustle, Epic),
Young Dro (Grand Hustle, E1, Atlantic),
DJ Drama (2006-2011),
Iggy Azalea (2012-2013),
Meek Mill (2008-2010),
Rashad Morgan (2005-2011),
Yung L.A. (2008-2011),
Aldrin "Toomp" Davis - Known for producing T.I.'s hit singles "24's", "Be Easy", "U Don't Know Me" and "What You Know".,
Cordale "Lil' C" Quinn - known for producing Young Dro's "Shoulder Lean" and "Rubberband Banks", Young Jeezy's "My Hood" and T.I.'s "Wit Me".,
Keith Mack - Known for producing Ludacris' "Act a Fool" and several T.I. tracks including the single "Live in the Sky".,
Kevin "Khao" Cates - Known for producing T.I.'s hit single "Why You Wanna", among other tracks for T.I. and other popular hip hop artists.,
Lamar "Mars" Edwards - a member of production team 1500 or Nothin, known for producing Asher Roth's "G.R.I.N.D (Get Ready It's a New Day)" and T.I.'s "Love This Life", among other songs from high-profile artists.,
Nard and B - Known for producing Yung L.A.'s "Futuristic Love (Elroy)", Slim Thug's "So High", and co-producing Maino's "All the Above", with Just Blaze.,
Smash Factory - Production team composed of T.I., Lil C and Mars. They have produced songs such as "I Can't Help It" by T.I., "She's So Fly" by Nelly and "King on Set" by T.I., the latter of which was featured on the More Than a Game soundtrack.,
TrackSlayerz - Known for producing T.I.'s "I'm Back".