One of the most successful rap MCs of the early 2000s, Tip Harris (born Clifford Harris in Atlanta in 1980, and occasionally credited by his musical pseudonym, T.I.), earned the moniker "the Jay-Z of the South" for his ability (like the said East Coast rapper) to meld toughness and smoothness with great dexterity. With such album releases as the 2003 Trap Muzik, the 2004 Urban Legend, and the 2006 King, T.I. not only seemed able to do no wrong in terms of numbers, but attained such popularity that he could soon be heard within a couple of hours on any major urban radio station.T.I. segued into film work in the mid-2000s with two parts: the lead in the gentle, slice-of-life ensemble drama ATL (2006) -- a picture about a young man and his friends growing up amid a difficult and confusing life in Atlanta -- and a small role in the Denzel Washington-headlined period crime drama American Gangster (2007), directed by Ridley Scott.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Began rapping at the age of 9.
- Dubbed "the Jay Z of the South" by Pharrell Williams.
- Changed his stage name from T.I.P. to T.I. to distinguish himself from another Arista Records artist named Q-Tip, after signing a record deal with the label at the age of 19.
- In 2001, released his debut album, I'm Serious, which featured production by the Neptunes on four tracks.
- Was dropped from Arista Records and subsequently formed his own label, Grand Hustle Records.
- Joined Reverend Al Sharpton and rapper Ja Rule for an anti-gun violence march in Harlem following his conviction of a gun-related crime.
- Published two fiction novels, titled Power & Beauty and Trouble & Triumph: A Novel of Power & Beauty.
- In 2012, discovered rapper Iggy Azalea and signed her to his record label.
- Expanded Grand Hustle Entertainment to include enterprises such as film production and a clothing brand, Grand Hustle Gang.