Source: Concerttour, Wikimedia Commons.

Everything you need to know about American rapper T.I.

What is he famous for?

T.I (birth name Clifford Jospeph Harris Jr.) is famous for being an American rapper, actor, songwriter, record producer and executive, author and entrepreneur. The singer is well known for being one of the artists who made the hip hop sub-genre called ‘trap music’ popular. During his career the singer has released ten studio albums, five of which have reached the top five in the US Billboard 200 charts. Over the course of his career the singer has had a number of hit singles including ‘Whatever You Like’ and ‘Live Your Life’.

The singers sixth album, released in 2008 and titled ‘Paper Trail’ has become his most successful project to date. The rapper has won a number of awards over the course of his career, including three Grammy Awards.

The singer has been to jail twice for probation violations and has been to federal prison once for a federal weapons charge. During his 11 month sentence in prison the singer released his seventh studio album. The rapper has also maintained a successful acting career with appearances in films such as ATL, Takers, Get Hard, Identity Thief and Marvel’s Ant Man. T.I has also published two novels and has starred in several reality TV series about his family and career.

T.I. early career
T.I. at the Summer Jam concert in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 23 July 2006. Source: Carla, Wikimedia Commons.

Early Career

T.I’s career first began after he made friends with local rapper Big Kuntry King, the pair sold mixtapes together out of the back of their car. The rapper was then discovered by Kawan ‘KP’ Prather and signed to the label Ghet-O-Vision Entertainment. He went by the moniker Tip until 1999 when he shortened it to T.I because of his Artista label-mate Q-Tip.

The rapper released his debut album, ‘I’m Serious’ in 2001. The album featured guest appearance from rapper Jazza Pha, Too Short, Bone Crusher, Lil Jon, Pastor Troy, YoungBloodZ and Pharrell Williams. The album reached number 93 on the charts and only sold 163,000 copies throughout the US. Due to the poor critical and commercial reception of the album, T.I was subsequently dropped by his label. After being dropped her formed Grand Hustle Entertainment and began releasing his own mixtapes. The rapper disappeared for a number of years until he was featured in the hit single ‘Never Scared’ by Bone Crusher, which became a hit and gained the rapper mainstream attention.

T.I. career breakthrough
T.I. performing in Bumbershoot on August 31, 2008. Source: Alex Crick, Wikimedia Commons.

Career Breakthrough

The rapper released his second album ‘Trap Muzik’ in 2003 through the label Grand Hustle Records. The song debuted at number four on the charts and sold more than 109,000 copies in its first week. The album was received well by music critics who viewed it as a big improvement over his first album. T.I released his third album, ‘Urban Legend’ in 2004. It debuted at number seven on the charts and sold 193,000 copies in its first week. The albums lead single, ‘Bring Em Out’ was the rappers first top ten single.

T.I released his fourth album, ‘King’ which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts in 2006, it sold 522,000 in its first week. The lead single of the album ‘What You Know’ performed well and became a hit in the United States. The album earned T.I a number of awards and nominations including a Grammy Award nomination.

His single ‘What You Know’ earned him a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rap Performance, he also earned a Grammy for his collaboration with Justin Timberlake on the song ‘My Love’.

T.I won the awards for Rap Artist of the Year, Rap Album of the Year, Rap Artist of the Year, Rap Song Artist of the Year and Video Clip artist of the year during the 2006 Billboard Music Awards.

T.I. continuing career
T.I in 2014. Source: The Come Up Show, Wikimedia Commons.

Continuing Career

T.I’s fifth album, titled ‘T.I vs. T.I.P’ was released in 2007. The albums second single ‘You Know What It Is’ sold more than 468,000 singles in the US. The album debuted on top of the R&B/Hip  Hop Charts, making it his second number one album in a row. The album featured performances by Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Wycleaf Jean, Nelly and Eminem.

During his house arrest in 2008 the rapper began writing songs for his sixth studio album. The lead single on the album was ‘Whatever You Like’, the song became the most successful of the rappers career at that point, reaching number one on the charts. His album, ‘Paper Trail’ debuted at number one in the US and sold more than 568,000 copies.

The rapper was nominated for Best Rap Song at the Grammy Awards, as well as three other categories, he won Best Rap Performance by a Duo.

In 2010 the singer was released from the halfway house that he was required to live at after serving his sentence for weapons possession. Following his release he began working on his seventh album titled ‘King Uncaged’.

The singer released his first promotional single, titled ‘I’m Back’ in March 2010. The single peaked at number 44 on the charts. Ahead of his albums release T.I decided to release a mixtape which caused some controversy due to the title of the mixtape ‘Fuck a Mixtape’.

T.I and his wife were arrested in September 2010 on drug charges and he was subsequently sentenced to 11 months in jail for violating his parole. After his arrest T.I changed the title of his album to ‘No Mercy’ and released his lead single ‘Get Back Up’ which featured Chris Brown. The album was released in December 2010 and went to number four in the US. He received two Grammy award nominations at the 2011 Grammy Awards.

In early 2011 the rapper stated announced plans for a new album. After his release from prison T.I signed a deal with VH1 for a reality show and announced that he was working on his own novel, which was planned for release in October 2011.

T.I released a promotional single for his new album titled ‘I’m Flexin’ in September 2011 and later anther single, a collaboration with Pharrell Williams titled ‘Here Ye, Here Ye’.

In 2011 it was revealed that the singer was working on a collaborative album with B.o.B titled ‘The Man and the Martian’.

T.I. personal life
T.I., aka Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., wife Tiny, aka Tameka Harris at the Premiere Of Universal Pictures’ ‘Identity Theft’ on February 4, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Source: Joe Seer, Bigstock Photos.

Before releasing his eight studio album the rapper released a mixtape and in 2013 he featured in Robin Thicke’s single ‘Blurred Lines’ from his album of the same name. The song became a hit in a number of countries and reach number one in more than thirteen.

In 2013 T.I announced that he had signed with Columbia Records and that they would be releasing his ninth studio album. In 2014 the rapper sung a verse on the song ‘No Medicore’ which featured his protégé Iggy Azalea. His album ‘Paperwork’ was released in 2014, it debuted at number two.

In 2016 T.I announced that he was going to go by his early moniker, Tip. In 2017 the rapper revealed that he planned to retire from making music after releasing three more solo albums. T.I announced that he planned to release an album called ‘Kill a King’ and said that he was still working on a number of collaborative albums with Young Dro and B.o.b. He is also due to judge Netflix’s Rhythm + Flow, a talent search show for hip hop artists which was scheduled to debut in 2019.

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