Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr. (born September 25, 1980), better known by his stage name T.I. (and formerly Tip), is an American hip hop recording artist and actor from Bankhead, Atlanta, Georgia. 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 Artista, 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. In 2009, Billboard ranked him as the 27th Artist of the 2000s decade.
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’ (Do It)”, “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). In 2004, T.I. appeared on Destiny’s Child’s worldwide hit single “Soldier”, alongside Lil Wayne. T.I.’s 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.