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Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. (born September 25, 1980 in Atlanta,
Georgia), best known by the stage name T.I., is an American rapper,
actor, and philanthropist.
T.I. is from the streets of Westside Bankhead Zone 1. His original
stage name, T.I.P., stems from his childhood nickname "Tip",
which he got from his grandfather. Due to his southern drawl, 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" (which has
created several cases of controversy between other southern rappers,
such as Lil' Flip and Ludacris).
T.I. has four children. Their names are Messiah "Ya'Majesty"
Harris,Damani Uriah Harris, Deyjah Harris, and Clifford Joseph "King"
Harris III, he also claims Tiny's daughter, Zonnique Pullins as
He is the leader of a rap group known as P$C (Pimp Squad Click).
His debut album I'm Serious was released through Arista Records
in 2001, which spawned the single of the same title which featured
reggae vocalist Beenie Man. His debut album included Pharrell Williams
of The Neptunes (who named him the Jay-Z of the south), Jazze Pha
and Youngbloodz. However, the album did not sell very well, and
he was dropped from the label. Undaunted, he formed Grand Hustle
Records and released several mixtapes with the assistance of DJ
Drama, which created an underground buzz. He resurfaced in the summer
of 2003 on Bonecrusher's song "Neva Scared". He parlayed
this attention towards the release of his second album, Trap Muzik.
It was more of a success than his debut album because of the singles
"24s", "Be Easy", "Rubber Band Man",
and "Let's Get Away". The success of the album was followed
by some controversy: while on tour, T.I. was charged with violating
his probation over a 2003 drug charge, and turned himself in. He
was sentenced to three years in prison. While there he was granted
rights to film the music video for "Let's Get Away".
Rise to fame
After his second CD Trap Muzik sold over 900,000 copies in the U.S.,
T.I. released Urban Legend in late 2004. Urban Legend instantly
generated crossover success with the hit single "Bring 'Em
Out". He used a sample from Jay-Z's "What More Can I Say"
from The Black Album to create the hook, and featured production
from Ruff Ryders's producer Swizz Beatz. The album featured Trick
Daddy, Nelly, Lil Jon, B.G., Mannie Fresh of the Big Tymers, Daz
Dillinger, Lil' Wayne, Pharrell of the Neptunes, P$C and Lil' Kim.
The album debuted at number 7 on the Billboard 200. At the beginning
of 2005, T.I. enjoyed success alongside Lil' Wayne on the Destiny's
Child song "Soldier", which proved to be a worldwide smash
His latest album, King debuted at number one on the Billboard 200
chart on April 4, 2006, selling over 520,000 copies in its first
week. In 2005 he launched his own film production company called
Grand Hustle Films, signed a multi-artist joint venture deal for
his label with Atlantic Records, and established a music publishing
deal for Grand Hustle Music with Warner Chappell. He also produced
the soundtrack to the film Hustle & Flow and released the collection
through Grand Hustle/Atlantic. He also did the same for the debut
album of his group P$C, 25 To Life. He has also starred in the film
On television, T.I. was seen on MTV's Diary and Punk'd after being
tricked by Ashton Kutcher on his way to his own concert held at
On a recent MTV interview, T.I. has stated that in early 2006,
after the sequel to his movie ATL hits theatres, his next studio
album, T.I. vs. T.I.P., will quickly hit afterwards,in 2007. T.I.
will also be making appearances on upcoming albums by Beyoncé,
Justin Timberlake, and Young Dro.
T.I. has collaborated in the studio with John Mayer, and their
is 2007 tentative release date for the material.
In 2004, T.I. received an early release from incarceration, and
returned to music with some disparaging words for rival rappers
Lil' Flip and Ludacris. T.I. had overheard people claiming that
Lil Flip had disrespected him at a show he did in Atlanta and he
felt obliged to respond. He freestyled over Jay Z's 99 problems
("Lil Flip aint one") and Ray Cash's "Pussy Ass Niggas"
with UGK rapper Bun B. Flip responded with numerous freestyles,
and released an underground album where most of the tracks were
devoted to dissing T.I. and others.
T.I. also called out Ludacris over an old disagreement their crews
had with one another. Ludacris made a music video in which a person
in a shirt that resembeled a Trap Muzik shirt was seen being beaten,
and, whether the resemblance was intentional or not, the feud between
T.I. and Ludacris progressed. T.I. later recorded a song with G-Unit
rapper Young Buck originally featuring Lil Jon. T.I.'s verse seemed
like a diss to Ludacris and Young Buck did not want to be apart
of it. Young Buck told Ludacris about this and Ludacris decided
to get on the same song and diss T.I. In his song "You know
who", he mentions Word of Mouf, maybe subliminally, but there
none the less.
T.I.'s verse was omitted from the original track listing and replaced
with The Game. According to website, T.I. was on a Houston radio
station talking about the situation between himself and Lil' Flip.
They since have discontinued this feud after a closed door meeting
between the two. The feud was documented by the Houston Press.
On T.I.'s album King, there are several tracks which have been
disputed by the hip hop community to be shots at Lil Flip ("What
You Know", "You Know Who" and "I'm Talkin to
You"). In an interview with a popular online hip hop website
on March 24, 2006, T.I. was quoted as saying he and Lil Flip have
no beef. This is somewhat contradictory to the events that occurred
during Young Dro's video "Shoulder Lean". As Young Dro
delivers the line "Lucky Charm Diamonds man, but nah, I ain't
Flip". T.I. is seen making a laughing gesture towards the video
Death of T.I.'s friend and assistant
In the early hours of May 3, 2006, T.I. and his entourage were involved
in a gunfight after leaving a concert after-party at the Club Ritz,
a nightclub in Cincinnati, Ohio that has a history of problems with
the law. Four members of T.I.'s entourage were shot in the altercation.
T.I.'s personal assistant Philant Johnson was killed and Janice
Gillespie was seriously wounded by the gunfire. It is believed that
the altercation began at the Ritz when members of T.I.'s entourage
began throwing money from the stage into the crowd, angering male
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the feud began at the city's
Club Ritz during an after-party for the Atlanta rapper and his protege
Young Dro -- who performed earlier that evening at the club Bogart's
-- and moved outside, where shots were fired into two vans transporting
T.I.'s crew just after three o'clock.
"[The money] was supposed to be for the ladies," one
witness said. "But it was hitting guys in the face, and they
were like, 'We got money, so why are you throwing money at us?'"
When the situation grew tense, T.I. reportedly told his group to
head out. A witness outside told the Enquirer that one shot -- believed
to be unrelated to the ensuing gun battle -- was fired in the parking
lot and at least four people followed the vans in a large vehicle.
The person that died was T.I.'s personal assistant and best friend
T.I. has stepped up his community involvement as well, taking the
lead on several initiatives to help the victims devastated by Hurricane
Katrina, including personally donating $50,000 to the relief effort
while leading an on-air Labor Day pledge drive on Atlanta's V-103
FM that raised over $263,000 for Mississippi rapper David Banner's
"Heal the Hood" Foundation. He also partnered with David
Banner and Atlanta newcomer Young Jeezy for a two-day food and clothing
drive at Atlanta's Club Vision and co-headlined a massive benefit
concert on September 17, sharing the bill with heavyweights such
as Nelly, OutKast's Big Boi, and David Banner - with 100 percent
of the proceeds going to "Heal the Hood."
In addition to his 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 Boost Mobile's 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. 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
2005: The O.C.
2005: South Beach
2006: ATL (film)
2007: ATL 2 (film)
2007: American Gangster
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American Gangster, a Ridley Scott film, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe.
American Gangster Movie.
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