Real Name: Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr.
D.O.B.: September 25th, 1980 Bankhead Atlanta, Georgia
Label: Grand Hustle/Atlantic
T.I. also known by his alter ego T.I.P., is one of the most well-respected Southern-style emcees in the game today. His rookie album came out in 2001, I'm Serious to an underground reception with LaFace Records. It sold 50,000 in his first week with a shortfall of just over 500,000 copies sold since. His 2003 follow-up debuted at 4th on the Billboard 200 with 109,000 units sold on its first week. Trap Muzik has sold well over 1 million copies since 2003 certified Platinum. His last two albums were the best selling albums of the last few years in hip-hop. The self-crowned King of the South has received top honours in the Grammy, American, MTV and BET awards in hip-hop's most acclaimed categories in his seven year recording career. He is currently sitting at home under house arrest pending trial in a federal court on two felony charges: possession of unregistered machine guns and possession of firearms by a convicted felon. As of 2008 he has resumed his recording projects and readies his sixth studio album in September 2008, Paper Trail. Peep game.
The Early Years
T.I. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He grew up in the Bankhead neighbourhood of Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Violetta Morgan and Clifford Harris Sr. His original stage name, T.I.P., stems from his childhood nickname "Tip", which he got from his grandfather. T.I. was first exposed to hip-hop at the age of seven, and by the time he was 11 he had decided to pursue a career in rap seriously; he signed his first record deal at age 19.
Due to his Southern drawl, many fans mistook his name for "Chip", so he began spelling it out "T.I.P". Upon signing with Arista Records subsidiary LaFace Records in 2001, he shortened his name to T.I. out of respect for label mate Q-Tip. He is also known to go by "Rubberband Man" and the self-proclaimed "King of the South". T.I. wrote about 30% percent of Bow Wow's third album Unleashed as well the third verse and chorus to "Let's Get Down". He has written lyrics for other artists such as Diddy and Trina.
T.I. is known for his rapid-fire delivery of lyrics. There has been some noticeable change in the way he delivers his lyrics throughout his career. Earlier on, he flowed in a slow-like, southern fashion which can be heard in songs like "I'm Serious", "24's" and "Never Scared". In the second era of his career, he sounded more relaxed and laid back (ex. "Bring Em Out", "Soldier", "What You Know", "U Don't Know Me" & "ASAP"). Later on in his career, his flow went from a slow and drowsy effect (ex. "Top Back" and "Drive Slow") to a faster flow which can be heard in "We Takin Over", Touch, "My Love", "Make It Rain Remix" and "I'm a Flirt remix".
His début album I'm Serious was released on October 9, 2001 through Arista Records, which spawned the single of the same title which featured reggae vocalist Beenie Man. His début album included Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes (who named him the Jay-Z of the south), Jazze Pha, and Youngbloodz. Production was by The Neptunes, DJ Toomp, and The Grand Hustle Team. However, the album did not sell very well, and he was dropped from the label. The album sold 268,000 copies. T.I. released the first single "I'm Serious" with Beenie Man. The single had little airplay and failed to meet the charts. The label would not release another single or video for the album, so T.I. created a video for "Dope Boyz", which had not a video nor single released, but can be seen on YouTube.
He released several mixtapes with the assistance of DJ Drama, which created an underground buzz. He resurfaced in the summer of 2003 on Bonecrusher's song "Neva Scared". He parleyed this attention towards the release of his second album, Trap Muzik.
T.I. released Trap Muzik in the summer 2003 and it debuted at #4 and sold 193,000 copies in its first week. It was more of a success than his debut album because of the singles "24's", "Be Easy", "Rubberband Man", and "Let's Get Away". The album featured guest appearances by Eightball & MJG, Jazze Pha, Bun B, & Macboney and producers include Jazze Pha, Kanye West, David Banner, & DJ Toomp. The success of the album was followed by some controversy; while on tour, T.I. was charged with violating his probation over a 2003 drug charge, and turned himself in. He was sentenced to three years in prison. While there, he was granted rights to film the music video for "Let's Get Away". Trap Muzik was released through Grand Hustle Records and sold over 1 million copies in the U.S. and was certified Platinum.
T.I. released his third album Urban Legend in late 2004. His 3rd single "A.S.A.P" reached #75 on the U.S. charts, #18 on the U.S. R&B charts, #14 on the Rap charts, and #35 on the U.K. singles chart. T.I. created a video for "ASAP"/"Motivation". However, "Motivation" appeared on the U.S. R&B singles chart, but not on the other charts like "A.S.A.P". In 2006, T.I. received two Grammy Award nominations: Best Song Collaboration ("Soldier" w/ Destiny's Child & Lil Wayne) and Best Rap Solo Performance for "U Don't Know Me" at The 48th Annual Grammy Awards.