T.I.Bankhead’s own T.I. aka T.I.P. (born Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.) has been blessing the world of Hip-Hop since 2001 and the road to his success hasn’t been an easy journey for the average man to travel. The self-proclaimed “King” has earned his crown and has also taken his rightful position on the throne, as the “King of the South”.

Harris was born and raised in Atlanta, GA; a cultural melting pot of many business ventures and without a doubt, T.I. has more than played his part in many of these endeavors. T.I. started rapping at nine years old but soon after, his life would put him on a track nothing like any studio could ever produce. The drug game was making a movie, casting calls were put into play, a new star was born, his name was the Rubberband Man he owned the streets of Bankhead and he was there to stay. This way of life became a new playground for the kid and by the age of 14, T.I. had been arrested several times and school was no longer in the picture. Even though T.I. was living a life in the streets, he never gave up on rap because soon after Kawan "KP" Prather, a record executive, discovered and signed T.I. when he was a teenager. In 2001, T.I. was now signed to Arista Records and from this ‘I’m Serious’ debuted in October 2001. “I’m Serious” the single from the album, dropped June 2001 and received very little air play. Arista dropped him from the label but this did not stop T.I. from pursing his music career. If anything, that gave him more insight on what to do next time around and in the words of Frank Sinatra, T.I. Did It His Way.

Grand Hustle Entertainment was formed in 2003 by T.I. and Jason Geter. Today it operates as a subsidiary of Warner Music Group, and is distributed by Atlantic Records. In the beginning Grand Hustle released many mixtapes with the assistance of in-house dj, DJ Drama and from this the best was yet to come. ‘Trap Muzik’ dropped in August 2003 and the rap game would never be that same but with T.I.’s new found fame. To follow up the platinum album’s success would be Urban Legend, King, T.I. vs. T.I.P., Paper Trail and No Mercy. In all, T.I. has recorded 7 studio albums and has been nominated for 144 awards and has won a total of 61 awards, ranging from the American Music Awards to the World Music Awards.

After dropping several studio albums, T.I. would soon try his luck in the game of acting, which would put him in a completely new lane and a new level of fame. Starring in the instant southern classic ‘ATL’, he would blow critics away starring in his first movie as well as being executive producer in this new venture. More movie roles and t.v. appearances followed T.I. and he never seems to let his fans down in his newest career choice, which each role being more profound than the last. ‘Takers’ would be his most preeminent role to date, starring along an all-star cast, T.I. lit up the screen as if he’s been in Hollywood all his life. T.I. also has a night club in Atlanta called Club Crucial that has also won a Southern Entertainment Award in 2009 for Nightclub/Venue of the Year.

The King is also an advocate for Communities and Children that are in need due to lack of monetary gain. T.I. helped assist Hurricane Katrina victims throughout the southern coast; he’s also provided scholarships for single parent families and 200 bicycles to the neighborhood kids of the Boys and Girls Club in Atlanta. In June 2005, T.I. was awarded the Lisa Lopez Award for groundbreaking achievements in music and community service by a music artist. T.I. has also landed several endorsements during his very prosperous career all ranging from body sprays, cars, liquor and social networks. On June 29, T.I. was named Global Creative Consultant of Rémy Martin Cognac; he also revealed that he would be launching his own signature brand of liquor in the near future. Even with all of T.I.’s triumphs, trails were soon to follow; the King is currently serving 11 months in a federal penitentiary located in Forrest City, Arkansas due to an arrest in West Hollywood on September 1, 2010.

He was currently on parole and this arrest was a direct violation of the terms of his “supervised release”, the judge ordered him not to commit another federal, state or local crime during that period. He was also ordered not to illegally possess a controlled substance. Reports describing the initial arrest from the Associated Press say T.I. and his wife, singer Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, were pulled over during a traffic stop in West Hollywood on the evening of September 1, 2010, after "deputies’ smelled marijuana" coming from their vehicle. T.I. was charged with possession of ecstasy, associating with a convicted felon and being under the influence of opiates. The couple was released from jail early on the morning of September 2 on $10,000 bail each. This prompted T.I. to change the name of his current album from King Uncaged to No Mercy, an album of ballads telling his story of his most recent tribulations. T.I. is due for release on September 29, 2011 and he has vowed to never put himself back in this kind of situation ever again because he realizes that these types of issues take a detrimental toll on his family and on his fans.

T.I. has come a long way from hustling in the mean streets of Bankhead to hustling in corporate America So what do you label a man who is a father, husband, musician, actor, philanthropist and believer of God…KING because nothing else would suffice.

Lil Flip
Mary J. Blige