Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr. (born September 25, 1980), better known as T.I (originally, and still known as Tip) is an American rapper, producer, entrepreneur, and actor from Atlanta, Georgia. He's been around since The '90s, but didn't break through until 2003, when he founded his own label Grand Hustle Records. He is notably a Genre Popularizer of southern hip-hop, being that he found great success at a time when most rappers that didn't hail from east or west coasts were considered a novelty (Outkast notwithstanding). His success opened the gates for many later southern rappers to become hugely successful in the mainstream, and has been named "King of the South" for this reason.
He also popularized Trap Music. At a time when it was primarily limited to the dirty south, he helped broaden the appeal of the genre (which would later be fused with EDM in the '10s and become unexpectedly popular). Tip is a member of the Pimp Squad Click (P$C), a southern hip-hop group that's had little success compared to him.
As the founder of Grand Hustle Records, he has discovered and mentored many popular acts in the Southern United States. These include B.o.B, Trae tha Truth, Travis Scott, Young Dro and, most notably, Iggy Azalea. In 2016, he signed with Jay-Z's Roc Nation label.
Outside of that, he's become rather notorious for his numerous arrests by the police and his multiple run-ins with the law; he has been jailed for nearly a year at one point. However, he has since cleaned up his act and has managed to maintain a stable career.
Tip is also known for occasionally acting, the most famous examples being his roles as Rashad Swann in ATL and Dave in Ant-Man.
- I'm Serious (2001)
- Trap Muzik (2003)
- Urban Legend (2004)
- King (2006)
- T.I vs. T.I.P. (2007)
- Paper Trail (2008)
- No Mercy (2010)
- Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head (2012)
- Paperwork (2014)
- Dime Trap (2018)
- Breakout Character: His first hit was a guest spot on "Never Scared," alongside fellow Atlanta rappers Bone Crusher (the main artist) and Killer Mike. While Crusher himself turned out to be a One-Hit Wonder, Mike and Tip both went on to far longer-lasting success.
- Cluster F-Bomb: He's a rapper, what do you expect?
- Intercourse with You: A common theme, many songs are about how he can have sex. Some range from objectifying the women as being "bitches", while others are more in the sensitive light. For the sensitive, "Whatever You Like" is probably the best example. The best objectifying version would be "No Mediocre".
- Mentor: To several rappers, Iggy Azalea being the most famous example.
- Mood Whiplash: From Paperwork, "About that Money" is followed by "New National Anthem". The sudden shift in mood is a bit weird when listening to the album in full.
- New Job as the Plot Demands: He's a rapper, producer, entrepreneur, actor, author, TV personality, and nightclub owner.
- N-Word Privileges: He's not shy about using them, as expected from a rapper.
- Ode to Intoxication: "At the Bar" and "Poppin' Bottles", most obviously. Some songs would reference drug use such as smoking weed, but these references are virtually absent from his later material (mainly due to Tip cleaning up).
- One-Steve Limit: When T.I., then still known as Tip, first got signed to Arista Records in 1999, Q-Tip was also signed there under a solo deal. Due to marketing conflicts, and out of respect for Q-Tip's legendary career and reputation, he shortened his name to T.I., but still uses the "Tip" monkier on occasion.
- Political Rap: "New National Anthem" is a Take That! against America's political system.
- Really Gets Around: "No Mediocre" portrays Tip as this. There are probably others as well.
- Red Baron: King of the South. When you consider the sheer number of rappers who hail from there, that is an impressive title to go by.
- Rhyming with Itself: He's rather guilty of this. "Live Your Life" features him rapping an entire verse where "way/away" is rhymed with each other many times. Also, "Swing Ya Rag" features this:Shorty, I can show you how to spend this bread real fastThen get a group of chicks to give you head real fast
No, you won't get no dick if there's a bush down thereGirl I should see nothing but pussy when I look down there
- Also, from "No Mediocre":
- "Bring 'Em Out" ends four lines with "shit".
- Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: Until he sobered up in 2011, he had shades of this.
- Southern Rap: Well, duh. He's sort of a pioneering act for it after all.
- Tattooed Crook: Averted, he doesn't have any tattoos despite being rapper (where hip-hop and tattoo culture go hand-in-hand).
- Trap Music: The Trope Namer and the Trope Maker. His second album is widely regarded as the origin of trap music as we know it.
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: He makes guest appearances in Justin Timberlake's "My Love", Lady Gaga's "Jewels n Drugs", Kesha's "Sleazy" remix, and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines".
- Wolverine Publicity: He's one of the biggest rappers in the game, and the proclaimed king of southern hip-hop. Naturally, he's appeared in a lot of other rappers' songs. Listing them would take all day, but thankfully Wikipedia has a convenient one if you want to know.