Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. (born September 25, 1980), better known by his stage names T.I. and Tip (often stylized as TIP or T.I.P.), is an American rapper, singer, actor, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, record executive, and author. Harris signed his first major-label record deal in 1999 with Arista subsidiary LaFace. In 2001, Harris formed the Southern hip hop group P$C, alongside his longtime friends and fellow Atlanta-based rappers Big Kuntry King, Mac Boney, and C-Rod. Upon being released from Arista, Harris signed to Atlantic and subsequently became the co-chief executive officer (CEO) of his own label imprint, Grand Hustle Records, which he launched in 2003. Harris is also known as one of the artists who popularized the hip hop subgenre trap music, along with Jeezy and Gucci Mane.
Harris has released ten studio albums, with seven of them reaching the top five of the US Billboard 200 chart. Throughout his career, Harris has also released several highly successful singles, including Billboard Hot 100 number one hits “Whatever You Like” and “Live Your Life”, the latter replaced the former atop the chart and helped Harris join a select group of artists to replace themselves at number one and simultaneously occupy the top two positions. Harris began to gain major recognition in 2003 following his first high-profile feature on fellow Atlanta-based rapper Bone Crusher’s single “Never Scared”. Harris earned more prominence with the release of Trap Muzik (2003), which includes the Top 40 songs “Rubber Band Man” and “Let’s Get Away”. The next year, Harris appeared on Destiny’s Child’s international hit “Soldier” alongside Lil Wayne and released his third album Urban Legend (2004). His subsequent albums, King and T.I. vs. T.I.P., generated high record sales and were supported by popular singles, such as “What You Know” and “Big Shit Poppin’ (Do It)”, respectively.
Harris’ sixth album, Paper Trail (2008), became his most successful project, with the album being certified gold for first-week sales of over 500,000 copies in the United States, additionally making it his third consecutive number one album. In 2013, Harris was featured on Robin Thicke’s single “Blurred Lines” alongside Pharrell Williams, which peaked at number one on several major music charts. In November 2013, Harris announced that he had signed with Columbia Records after his 10-year contract with Atlantic came to an end. He released his Columbia debut Paperwork in October 2014. In February 2016, Harris signed a distribution deal with Roc Nation and later another deal with Epic Records in September 2018. The former served as a means to release his political Us or Else EP series, while the latter released his long-delayed tenth album Dime Trap in October of that year. Harris has won three Grammy Awards.
Harris has served two terms in county jail, twice for probation violations and a federal prison bid for a U.S. federal weapons charge. While serving 11 months in prison, he released his seventh studio album No Mercy (2010). Harris has also had a successful acting career, starring in the films ATL, Takers, Get Hard, Identity Thief, and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Ant-Man and its sequel. He is also a published author of two novels, Power & Beauty (2011) and Trouble & Triumph (2012), both of which were released to moderate success. Harris has also starred in the American reality television series T.I.’s Road to Redemption, T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle, and The Grand Hustle. In 2009, Billboard ranked him as the 27th best artist of the 2000s decade.