Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr. (born September 25, 1980), better known by his stage name T.I. or T.I.P., is an American recording artist, film and music producer and occasional actor. He is the founder and co-chief executive officer (CEO) of Grand Hustle Records.
T.I. was discovered and signed when he was a teenager by record executive Kawan “KP” Prather. 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.
In 2001, T.I. released his debut album, “I'm Serious.” The album peaked at #98 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. Due to poor sales, T.I. asked for a joint venture deal with Arista or be released from his contract and was subsequently dropped from the label.
In 2003, T.I. launched Grand Hustle Entertainment (now Grand Hustle Records) with his longtime business partner Jason Geter and signed a new deal with Atlantic Records.
T.I. released his commercial debut album, “Trap Muzik” in 2003 and it peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
His second album, “Urban Legend” was released in 2004 and it included the lead single “Bring 'Em Out,” which peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart and was certified platinum. “Urban Legend” peaked at #7 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum in the U.S.
In 2006, his album “King” debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold in its first week. The lead single, “What You Know” peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 and was certified double platinum. “King” was certified platinum in the U.S. Later that year, he earned his first #1 Hot 100 single for his collaboration with Justin Timberlake entitled, “My Love.”
T.I. released his second #1 album, “T.I. vs. T.I.P.“ in 2007. The lead single “Big Shit Poppin' (Do It)“ peaked at #9 on the Hot 100. The album was certified platinum in the U.S.
In 2008, his third #1 album on the Billboard 200, “Paper Trail” was released and was certified gold in its first week. The album included two #1 singles with four Top 5 singles overall including “Whatever You Like,” Swagga Like Us,” “Live Your Life” and “Dead and Gone.” It was certified 2x platinum in the U.S.
In 2010, while serving eleven months in prison for probation violation he released his seventh studio album, “No Mercy.” The album debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold by the RIAA. The album had Top 40 hits with “Got Your Back” and “That’s All She Wrote.”