Clifford “T.I.” Harris
Name at birth: Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr.
T.I. is the stage name of Atlanta, Georgia rapper Clifford Harris, whose fourth album, King, was the best-selling rap release of 2006. Harris, whose childhood nickname is Tip, released his first full album in 2001 (I'm Serious). T.I. then steadily built sales with his next releases, Trap Muzik (2003) and Urban Legend (2004). King launched him into the big time and earned a Grammy for best rap solo ("What You Know"). The self-proclaimed "King of Hip-Hop," Harris sticks to traditional rap themes -- illegal drugs, illicit guns and ill-treated women -- and is known as a technically skilled lyricist. Over the years he's worked with Destiny's Child, Busta Rhymes, Eminem, Jaimie Foxx and Justin Timberlake (their single "My Love" won a Grammy). Like Jay-Z and Sean "Diddy" Combs, Harris has business interests beyond making hit records, including nightclubs, construction and a record label and media company, Grand Hustle. His success in 2006 included landing a role in a new Ridley Scott movie with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe (American Gangster) and teaming up with Chevrolet and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for TV commercials. His hit songs include "What You Know," "U Don't Know Me" and "Big Things Poppin'" (that's the polite title). He released his sixth album, T.I. vs T.I.P. in 2007, and in 2008 he was convicted on federal weapons charges and ordered to perform community service while awaiting sentencing. He was fined $100,000 and spent most of 2009 in jail. After being released he bounced back in 2010 with a movie (Takers), collaborations with Kanye West and Dr. Dre and a new album, King Uncaged. The fun didn't last long -- Harris was arrested in September in possession of Ecstasy and sentenced to 11 more months in jail for violating conditions of his parole.
Before he was jailed he appeared in an MTV series, T.I.’s Road to Redemption… Harris’s childhood friend and personal assistant, Philant Johnson, was murdered in a shooting in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2006; Harris then tried to buy unregistered machine guns and silencers for himself, but got caught and convicted in 2008… His rivalry with fellow southern rapper Ludacris occasionally makes hip-hop headlines.
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