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T.I. – The King of the South

An overview of the legendary rapper:

Full Name Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr.
Also Known As T.I., Tip
Birthday September 25, 1980
Origin Atlanta, Georgia
Age 42 Years Old
Height 5‘8"
Spouse Tameka "Tiny" Cottle (m. 2010)
Children 7
Record Labels Grand Hustle, Atlantic
Net Worth $50 million

With a career spanning over 20 years, T.I. has solidified his legacy as one of the most successful hip hop artists to come out of Atlanta. Here‘s a deeper look at his illustrious career.

Early Life and Career Beginnings

T.I. grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Atlanta and initially dealt drugs as a teen before finding solace in rap music. His raw talent was evident from an early age – he adopted the stage name T.I. which stood for "Tiny Incomparable" and represented his outsized confidence.

T.I. released his first mixtape in 1996 at age 16 and his first album "I‘m Serious" under Arista Records in 2001. Though it was not a mainstream success yet, it showcased his spitfire lyricism and technical prowess.

Rise to Fame in the 2000s

T.I.‘s real breakthrough came with the release of his 2003 album Trap Muzik which peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 charts. The single "24‘s" introduced his unique style of Southern trap music infused with R&B hooks and compelling storytelling.

Over the next few years, T.I. continued his success with albums like Urban Legend (2004), King (2006) and T.I. vs T.I.P. (2007). Major singles from this era included "Bring Em Out," "What You Know," "Why You Wanna," "Live Your Life" and more.

He also collaborated with pop superstars like Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera, demonstrating his crossover appeal. His 2008 album Paper Trail sold over 2 million copies and won the Grammy for Best Rap Album in 2009.

Influence on Trap Music & Southern Hip Hop

T.I. is considered one of the pioneering fathers of trap music which blends gritty Southern hip hop with electronic production. Along with fellow Atlantans like Gucci Mane, T.I. brought trap to mainstream popularity in the 2000s.

As rapper T.I. himself said, "I gave voice to a group of people who didn‘t necessarily have a voice before." He proved that Southern rap had nationwide appeal. Leading trap artists today like Future, Migos, 2 Chainz all consider T.I. an inspiration.

Acting Career

In addition to music, T.I. has built an impressive acting career, starring in major Hollywood films like ATL (2006), American Gangster (2007), Takers (2010) and the Marvel hit Ant-Man (2015).

His charisma, intensity and comedic timing made him a versatile performer. He‘s been featured in TV shows like House of Lies, Roots and Entourage and has even done voice work for animated films like Boss Baby.

Business Ventures and Philanthropy

T.I. founded his own label Grand Hustle Records in 2003 which has signed prominent artists like Iggy Azalea, Travis Scott and Young Dro. His other ventures include bars, nightclubs, a book publishing company and a thriving real estate portfolio.

He‘s an active philanthropist funding scholarships, youth programs and disaster relief efforts – T.I. and his wife Tiny donated $100,000 to aid victims during the Gulf Coast hurricanes. He also launches pop-up shelters for the homeless around the holidays.

Legacy as a Hip Hop Legend

With 10+ hit albums, multiple Grammy wins, successful acting roles and business ventures under his belt, T.I.‘s cultural impact is undeniable. Despite controversies, he has bounced back and continues to evolve his artistry.

At just 42 years old, T.I. still has a bright future ahead. With his trademark technical flow, soulful production and honest lyricism, T.I.‘s influence can be felt across all of hip hop today. As Jay-Z rapped, "Only cats I know to get it like me is T.I.P." He remains the reigning King of the South.

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