In 2001, Harris formed the Southern hip hop group P$C, alongside his longtime friends and fellow Atlanta-based rappers Big Kuntry King, Mac Boney, and C-Rod. Upon being released from Arista, Harris signed to Atlantic and subsequently became the co-chief executive officer (CEO) of his own label imprint, Grand Hustle Records, which he launched in 2003. Harris is also known as one of the artists who popularized the hip hop subgenre trap music, along with Young Jeezy and Gucci Mane.
Harris has released ten studio albums, with seven of them reaching the top five of the US Billboard 200 chart.
Throughout his career, Harris has also released several highly successful singles, including Billboard Hot 100 number one hits “Whatever You Like” and “Live Your Life”, the later replaced the former atop the chart and helped Harris join a select group of artists to replace themselves at number one and simultaneously occupy the top two positions .
Harris earned more prominence with the release of Trap Muzik (2003), which includes the Top 40 songs, “Rubber Band Man” and “Let’s Get Away”.
The next year, Harris appeared on Destiny’s Child’s international hit, “Soldier”, alongside Lil Wayne, and released his third album Urban Legend (2004).
Harris’ sixth album, Paper Trail (2008), became his most successful project, with the album being certified gold for first-week sales of over 500,000 copies in the United States, additionally making it his third consecutive number one album.
In 2013, Harris was featured on Robin Thicke’s single “Blurred Lines”, alongside Pharrell Williams, which peaked at number one on several major music charts.
In February 2016, Harris announced he signed a distribution deal with Roc Nation, to release his tenth album.
While serving 11 months in prison, he released his seventh studio album, No Mercy (2010).
We were both on Arista and we was trying to release my first album.
T.I. released his debut album, I’m Serious, in October 2001 through Arista Records. The album spawned the eponymous single, which featured Jamaican reggae artist Beenie Man. T.I.’s debut single, “I’m Serious,” was released on June 26, 2001.
The album features guest appearances from his Southern hip hop group P$C, Jazze Pha, Too Short, Bone Crusher, Lil Jon, Pastor Troy and YoungBloodZ, as well as Pharrell Williams of American record production team The Neptunes (who called him “the Jay-Z of the South”),.
Despite the album’s guests appearances and production team, the album peaked at number 98 and only sold 163,000 copies in the United States. Critics pointed to the fact that many of the tracks sounded the same and that a few were blatant rip-offs. Other critics commented saying, “T.I. claims to be the king of the South, but fails to show and prove.
Due to the poor commercial reception of the album, T.I. was dropped from Arista Records. He then formed Grand Hustle Entertainment and began releasing several mixtapes with the assistance of DJ Drama.
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”.
Upon its release, Trap Muzik received generally favorable reviews from most music critics, who generally regarded it as a major improvement over his debut album, I’m Serious.
T.I. released his third studio album, Urban Legend, in November 2004.
It debuted at number seven on the US Billboard 200, selling 193,000 copies in its first week. The album’s lead single, “Bring Em Out”, which was produced by Swizz Beatz, was released in January 2005 and became T.I.’s first top ten hit, peaking at number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100, while the second single “U Don’t Know Me” peaked at number twenty-three on the US Billboard Hot 100.
However, “Motivation” only made it to number 62 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop singles chart. In 2004, T.I. was featured on Destiny’s Child’s hit single “Soldier”, alongside New Orleans-bred rapper Lil Wayne, which peaked at number three on the Hot 100 chart.
2005–2006: P$C album, King and ATL
Main articles: P$C, 25 to Life (album), King (T.I. album), and ATL (film)
In September 2005, T.I. teamed up with his Pimp $quad Click (P$C) cohorts, Big Kuntry King, Mac Boney, C-Rod and AK, to release P$C’s debut studio album, 25 to Life.
The album, which was preceded by several self-released mixtapes by P$C, peaked at number 10 on the US Billboard 200 chart.
The album was supported by the lead single “I’m a King”, which was also included on the soundtrack to the film Hustle & Flow, a collection also released by T.I.’s label imprint Grand Hustle, under the aegis of Atlantic Records.
T.I.’s fourth album, King, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the first half of 2006, selling 522,000 copies in its first week. T.I. released “Front Back” and “Ride with Me” as promotional singles prior to the release of the album.
The album’s lead single “What You Know,” became a hit in the U.S. and helped promote not only the album, but also ATL, the film T.I. starred in that coincided with the album’s release.
He was also featured on newly signed Grand Hustle artist Young Dro’s debut single “Shoulder Lean”, which reached the top ten on the U.S. Hot 100 and #1 on the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Tracks.
“What You Know” won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance and was nominated for Best Rap Song at the 49th Grammy Awards. Also that year, T.I. collaborated with Justin Timberlake for “My Love,” which proved to be a worldwide hit, and won a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration with Timberlake at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards and also won Best Male Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Awards for the second straight time.
That same year he won Rap Artist of the Year, Rap Album Of The Year, Rap Album Artist Of The Year, Rap Song Artist of the Year and Video Clip Artist of the Year on the Billboard Music Award and Best Male Hip-Hop Artist on the BET Awards.
T.I.P. T.I. released his fifth album, T.I. vs.
The lead single from the album was “Big Shit Poppin’ (Do It),” which was produced by Mannie Fresh and was released to radio stations on April 17, 2007.
T.I.P. sold 468,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
It was T.I.’s second chart-topper in a row: King opened at number one on the Billboard 200 with 522,000 copies in late March 2006. The album included guest performances from Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Wyclef Jean, Nelly, and Eminem, and production by Eminem, Jeff Bass, Mannie Fresh, Grand Hustle, The Runners, Just Blaze, Wyclef Jean and Danja.
While under house arrest, T.I. began writing lyrics down on paper for his sixth studio album. The first official single from the album, titled “No Matter What,” was released in April 2008.
The official lead single was “Whatever You Like,” released in July 2008, and became the most successful single of his career up until that point, breaking the record for the highest jump to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, jumping from number 71 to number one and also becoming T.I.’s first solo number one single on the chart.
The third single was “Swing Ya Rag” which featured vocals and production from Swizz Beatz. T.I. released his sixth album, Paper Trail, in September 2008.
His representative explained that T.I. wanted to “take more time to really put something down [this time]”. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 selling 568,000 copies in the United States.
The second single from the album, “Swagga Like Us”, featuring Kanye West, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne, debuted and peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100.
With the third single “Live Your Life” featuring Rihanna, T.I. broke his own record on the Billboard Hot 100 when it jumped from number 80 to the number one. The fourth single “Dead and Gone”, featuring Justin Timberlake, peaked at number two for five weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, eventually going on to be nominated during the 52nd Grammy Awards for both “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration” and “Best Rap Song”.
It was the planned first single from the re-release of T.I.’s sixth studio album, “Paper Trail”, but the re-release was eventually shelved.
On October 6, “Hell of a Life” was released digitally and went on to peak at number 54 on the Billboard Hot 100.
On March 26, 2010, T.I. was released from a halfway house where he had been serving the remainder of his prison sentence for weapons possession. Soon after his release he was in the studio working on his seventh studio album titled King Uncaged. Jim Jonsin, the producer who previously worked with him on his single, “Whatever You Like” and R&B singer Trey Songz, were scheduled to work on the project.
“I am very well, very happy to be seen,” said T.I., who joined Cottle onstage at the end of the benefit. T.I. released a new promotional single titled “I’m Back” on March 8, 2010. The single peaked at #44 on Billboard’s Hot 100 charts. Around this time, he made a featured guest appearance on Diddy-Dirty Money’s single “Hello Good Morning”, the single peaked at #27 in US and charted internationally in eight other countries.
He also made a guest appearance on Larry King Live on May 13, to discuss with Larry King about his nine-month prison term on federal gun charges and other topics. T.I. released a promotional soundtrack single entitled, “Yeah Ya Know (Takers)” on May 24. It peaked at number forty-four on Billboard Hot 100 and number sixty-eight on Canadian Hot 100. T.I. released another promotional single entitled; “Got Your Back” which featured American R&B singer Keri Hilson and peaked at number thirty-eight in the US. Later, T.I. made more featured single appearances such as Jamie Foxx’s single “Winner” also featuring Justin Timberlake and Drake’s single “Fancy” also featuring Swizz Beatz.
Following his arrest, T.I. scrapped King Uncaged as the title for his seventh studio album and renamed it No Mercy, due to his new prison sentencing.
He then released the lead single from the newly titled album, “Get Back Up” featuring Chris Brown, on the same day that he was sentenced back to prison for violating the terms of his probation. “Get Back Up” peaked at number seventy in the US. T.I. began serving his sentence in November 2010 and his date of release was set to be September 29, 2011.
His second and final single from the album was “That’s All She Wrote” his second collaboration with Eminem, and was released on December 19, peaking at number eighteen in the US.
In early June 2011, T.I. said in a letter: “I’ll be releasing a record in the near future (couple of weeks tops) to hold y’all over til I get back in action.” On June 30, 2011, a new song was released onto T.I.’s official website and on his official YouTube channel – titled “We Don’t Get Down Like Y’all”, which features fellow Grand Hustle rapper B.o.B on the hook.
After being released from prison in August 2011, T.I. signed a deal with VH1 for a new reality show that will follow him as he re-adjusts to life as a free man after the incarceration and he also announced he working on a novel entitled, Power & Beauty which was set to be released in October.
On September 30, 2011, T.I. released “I’m Flexin'”, the first promotional single from his upcoming eighth studio album.
The song features vocals and production from Big K.R.I.T. T.I. reunited with Young Jeezy on “F.A.M.E.” for Jeezy’s album TM103. “I’m Flexin” peaked at number sixty-six on Billboard Hot 100, while “F.A.M.E.” peaked at number sixty-seven on Billboard Hip Hop/R&B.
After his release from prison, T.I. appeared on several remixes including; “Spend It” by 2 Chainz, “Sleazy” by Kesha, “Niggas in Paris” with Jay-Z and Kanye West, “Hard White (Up in the Club)” by Yelawolf also featuring Slaughterhouse, “Ima Boss” by Meek Mill alongside a freestyle over Drake’s “Headlines”, and Lil Wayne’s “She Will”.
He was also featured on southern rapper Future’s second single “Magic”, taken from his debut studio album Pluto, which was the first song he hopped on after his release from prison according to Future.
T.I. revealed the title of his eighth studio album to be Trouble Man. The title was partly inspired by Marvin Gaye’s 1972 song of the same name, he revealed on Billboard.
In preparation for the album, T.I. released a mixtape entitled, Fuck da City Up on New Year’s Day. Two songs off the mixtape charted on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, “Popped Off”, featuring vocals and production from Dr. Dre and “This Time of Night” featuring Nelly, respectively.
But it seems to be taking form in a very organic way.” On December 1, 2011, B.o.B appeared on New York City’s Hot 97 radio station and confirmed that he and T.I. are indeed working on a collaborative album titled The Man and the Martian.
On March 1, 2012, T.I. announced he signed Iggy Azalea, Chipmunk and Trae Tha Truth to Grand Hustle Records. He was executive producer on Azalea’s debut extended play Glory and was featured on her debut single “Murda Bizness”, which premiered March 26, 2012. On March 30, T.I. released a snippet of “Love This Life”, Trouble Man’s promotional single, produced by Mars of 1500 or Nothin’.
During his visit to Angie Martinez’s radio show, he revealed that the album will be released on September 4.
“This time I finally feel like they got a record that’s gonna be a humongous hit.” T.I.’s VH1 reality show T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle was renewed for a second season, which aired on September 3. T.I. released another promotional song off Trouble Man on May 15, entitled “Like That”. T.I. appeared on Trey Songz’s second single off his album Chapter V titled “2 Reasons”. The song peaked at number forty-three in the US.
Another promotional single off Trouble Man, entitled “Go Get It” was released on July 17.
During his visit, he announced a new release date for his album set for December 18.
He also stated that he’s working on a women’s clothing line from A.K.O.O. He later released a new song “Trap Back Jumpin'”, which he premiered during his visit on Angie Martinez’s radio show. On October 9, 2012, T.I. was featured on the annual BET Hip Hop Awards cypher, alongside his Grand Hustle artists Iggy Azalea, B.o.B, Chip and Trae tha Truth.
A song titled “Ball”, was released on October 16, as the lead single from his upcoming eighth studio album.
The song featured fellow American rapper Lil Wayne and was produced by American record producer Rico Love, alongside Earl & E. The song peaked at number fifty in the US and number fifty-eight in the Canada.
In the following month, T.I. leaked the illustrated cover art from his newly named album entitled, Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head along with the track list and a few newly added features from the album.
It’s probably harder than most of the shit that’s coming out right now.” “Sorry” featuring Andre 3000 was released as the fifth promotional single via iTunes on November 27. “Sorry” peaked at number 36 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
Then “Hello” featuring CeeLo Green was released to iTunes on December 11 as the sixth promotional single. The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 179,000 copies in the United States. As of September 2, 2013, it has sold 502,000 copies.
Shortly before Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head was released, T.I. announced he would release the sequel as his next album, titled Trouble Man II: He Who Wears the Crown.
The sequel is due to T.I. recording more material than needed, being cited by T.I. as much as 120 songs. 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.
In February 2013, T.I. revealed he chose “Hello”, as the third official single from Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head. According to T.I., the CeeLo Green-featured song was selected due to its heavy radio play.
On March 8, 2013 T.I. told Rap-Up that he was already 60-70% completed with Trouble Man II: He Who Wears the Crown. He also spoke on the Grand Hustle compilation, Hustle Gang, which B.o.B announced earlier in January. In March 2013, T.I. revealed he would soon be filming the music video for “Hello”. On March 19, 2013 T.I. performed “Hello” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. In March, T.I. and B.o.B filmed the music video for “Memories Back Then”, a song featuring Kendrick Lamar and Kris Stephens.
T.I. said to Rap-Up. Although the track failed to appear on Trouble Man, due to sample-clearance issues, it was released as the lead single from the Hustle Gang compilation album.
T.I. explained that the tour would begin on July 5 and go through September 1, 2013. American rappers French Montana and 2 Chainz, were later confirmed to join the tour, among others. The first America’s Most Wanted Tour, had taken place five years prior and featured Young Jeezy, Soulja Boy, Pleasure P, Jeremih and Young Money. On May 21, 2013, T.I. released a single titled “Wit Me” featuring Lil Wayne.
The song was released in promotion for the tour and peaked at number 80 on the Hot 100 chart.
I haven’t decided exactly where I’m going to take [the new album] yet as far as a company for distribution, but wherever I take it, there’s going to be some happy people in that building.” In September 2013, T.I. was featured throughout Lil Wayne’s twelfth solo mixtape Dedication 5.
On September 1, 2013, it was revealed that T.I. would be featured on American pop star Lady Gaga’s album ARTPOP, on the song “Jewels n’ Drugs”, alongside fellow American rappers Too Short and Twista.
On November 22, 2013, T.I. announced that he had signed a deal with Columbia Records, to release his upcoming ninth studio album. T.I. later clarified the deal is solely for his ninth album. T.I. revealed he recruited Pharrell Williams, who was influential in his move to Columbia, to executive produce the LP, with plans to release the album in early 2014. In December 2013, T.I. revealed although he had originally planned to release Trouble Man II, since getting into the studio with the album’s executive producer, Pharrell Williams, he had a change of heart.
On May 9, 2014, T.I. released a music video for a song titled “Turn It”, in promotion for Paperwork. On June 3, 2014, T.I. released a song titled “About the Money”, via digital distribution. The song, which serves as the first single from Paperwork, features up-and-coming Atlanta-based rapper Young Thug.
The music video for “About the Money”, directed by T.I. and Kennedy Rothchild, was released on June 2, 2014. On June 17, 2014, T.I. release the second single from Paperwork, a song titled No Mediocre, which was produced by West Coast hip hop producer DJ Mustard and features a guest verse from his then protege Iggy Azalea. Since its release “No Mediocre” reached number 33 on the Hot 100 chart and was certified platinum by the RIAA.
On August 20, 2014, one day after speaking out on America in his online treatise about Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, T.I. released a new song titled “New National Anthem.” The song, which features vocals from American singer-songwriter Skylar Grey, includes socially conscious lyrics centered on racism and injustice. On September 23, 2014, Paperwork was made available for pre-order with “New National Anthem” as the “instant gratification track”.
T.I.’s ninth album Paperwork, was released on October 21, 2014,.
Upon its release, the album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 80,000 copies in the United States. Paperwork received generally positive reviews from music critics.
On March 11, 2015, T.I. released a single titled “Project Steps”. On March 24, 2015, T.I. announced his tenth album would be titled Trap’s Open. In a June 2015 interview, T.I. revealed his tenth studio album was completed and awaiting release. He also announced he was working on a project as part of the hip hop collective Bankroll Mafia, alongside Shad da God and Young Thug, among others. On June 26, 2015, T.I. released the music video for the single “Project Steps” and announced his tenth album’s new title would be The Dime Trap. In July 2015, T.I. revealed The Dime Trap was being mixed and mastered; he also added that “It is a lot more urban, a lot more edgy, a lot more unapologetically ghetto than Paperwork”.
In promotion for the album, T.I. unexpectedly released an extended play (EP) titled Da’ Nic, on September 11, 2015.
In an interview with HitsDailyDouble.com, he addressed his situation: “Having just exited my deal at Columbia, I was a rogue artist, busting creativity, just waiting to put music in the marketplace, so while I’m sorting out my next situation, I’m blessed enough to be able to control my destiny and put music out as quickly as I want to, and was able to release a Tip album, which I had wanted to do for a long time.”
T.I., in collaboration with a number of southern rappers, who are collectively known as Bankroll Mafia, released an eponymous album on April 22, 2016. On May 16, 2016, T.I. released a single titled “Dope” which was produced by West Coast hip hop record producer Dr. Dre. On May 26, 2016, 4 people were shot before T.I. took the stage at Irving Plaza at his scheduled concert in New York City.
The EP “will be aimed at supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and will speak explicitly about the twisted road race relations took in America to arrive at its current precarious state.” On August 6, 2016, T.I. released the first single for Us or Else, a song titled “We Will Not”, in response to the turmoil caused by the injustices going on in America, namely police brutality following the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. On August 31, 2016, T.I. released a new song off Us or Else, titled “War Zone”, exclusively through TIDAL. Us or Else was released exclusively through TIDAL on September 23, 2016, by Grand Hustle Records and Roc Nation.
On December 16, 2016, without prior announcement or promotion, T.I. released Us or Else: Letter to the System. The project, which was also initially released exclusively through TIDAL, features guest appearances from Quavo, Meek Mill, RaRa, Big K.R.I.T. and Killer Mike, as well as production handled by Nottz, Mars of 1500 or Nothin’ and Mike & Keys, among others.
In January 2017, it was announced T.I. would host the fifth annual Global Spin Awards. In an October 2017 interview with HipHopDX, when asked about Grand Hustle Records’ upcoming albums, TIP answered with: We Want Smoke is out, and then Translee is coming out on November 27, and Booke is October 27, and you can wait until December 18 for mine.
On July 19, 2018 BET premiered a show titled The Grand Hustle featuring T.I. BET described the show as “Grammy-winning recording artist/entrepreneur Tip “T.I.” Harris is looking to expand his Grand Hustle business empire, so he is on the hunt for a highly skilled executive to join the team.
T.I. has also served as an executive producer for several projects other than his own, including New Orleans-based rapper B.G.’s tenth album Too Hood 2 Be Hollywood (2009), Atlanta-based rapper B.o.B’s debut album The Adventures of Bobby Ray (2010) and Australian rapper Iggy Azalea’s debut EP Glory (2012), among others.
Additionally in 2005, T.I. had executive produced the soundtrack to the film Hustle & Flow, releasing the collection through his record label, Grand Hustle. Furthermore, T.I. has produced several song recordings, including for Mariah Carey, Cassidy, Rick Ross, Maino, B.o.B, Yung Joc, Young Dro and himself. T.I. also served as a ghostwriter and assisting songwriter, for several artists, such as Bow Wow, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Dr. Dre, Bun B and Keyshia Cole.
In addition to helping with 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 the Boost Mobile 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.
Harris first began dealing drugs as a teenager, and by the age of 14, he had been already arrested several times. In March 2004, a warrant was issued for T.I.’s arrest after he violated his probation of a 1997 drug conviction, as well as a 1998 conviction for violating a state controlled substances act and for giving false information. He was sentenced to three years in prison. While imprisoned in Cobb County, Georgia, he filmed an unauthorized music video. In May 2004, he was released on probation. After being released, he earned a litany of probation violations in several counties around Georgia for offenses ranging from possession of a firearm to possession of marijuana. In 2006, after appearing in an Atlanta court on (May 10) and having charges that he threatened a man outside a strip club the previous year dropped for lack of evidence, Harris was arrested on an outstanding probation violation warrant from Florida.
Harris had his sentence reduced from an original maximum 10 years and a $250,000 fine with a plea bargain. On May 26, 2009, Harris began serving his sentence in Forrest City, Arkansas. Two days prior to being imprisoned, he performed a farewell concert at the Philips Arena in Atlanta. Harris was released from FCC Forrest City on December 22, 2009 and was transferred to a halfway house in Atlanta. Harris had the Federal Bureau of Prisons ID 59458-019 and was released from CCM Atlanta on March 26, 2010. After his release from prison, he was subjected to an audit of his finances, drug counseling, DNA testing, and random searches of his property.
On September 1, 2010, T.I. and his wife Tiny were arrested for drug charges. The arrest for drug charges led to T.I. being sentenced on October 15, 2010 to 11 months in prison for violating the terms of his probation, specifically for possessing ecstasy, testing positive for opiates and associating with a convicted felon, namely his P$C cohort C-Rod. 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. On August 31, 2011, T.I. was released from Forrest City Correctional Facility in Arkansas at 7:29 a.m. and was sent to a community living facility to serve out the rest of his 11-month prison sentence.
Source: 2007: T.I. vs. T.I.P.