Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr. (born September 25, 1980), better known by his stage name T.I.
, and also by his alter ego T.I.P., is an American rapper, songwriter, actor, record, philanthropist, and executive producer as well as the co-CEO of Grand Hustle Records.
T.I. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He grew up in the Bankhead neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Violetta Morgan and Clifford Harris Sr. His original stage name, T.I.P., stems from his childhood nickname “Tip”, which he got from his grandfather. T.I. was first exposed to hip-hop at the age of seven, and by the time he was 11 he had decided to pursue a career in rap seriously; he signed his first record deal at age 19.
Due to his Southern drawl, many fans mistook his name for “Chip”, so he began spelling it out “T.I.P”. 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.
He is also known to go by “Rubberband Man” and the self-proclaimed “King of the South” (which has created several cases of controversy between other southern rappers, such as Lil’ Flip and Ludacris). T.I. wrote about 30% percent of Bow Wow’s third album Unleashed as well the third verse and chorus to “Let’s Get Down”. He has written lyrics for other artists such as Diddy and Trina.
T.I. is known for his rapid-fire delivery of lyrics. There has been some noticeable change in the way he delivers his lyrics throughout his career. Earlier on, he flowed in a slow-like, southern fashion which can be heard in songs like “I’m Serious”, “24’s” and “Never Scared”. In the second era of his career, he sounded more relaxed and laid back (ex. “Bring Em Out”, “Soldier”, “What You Know”, “U Don’t Know Me” & “ASAP”). Later on in his career, his flow went from a slow and drowsy effect (ex. “Top Back” and “Drive Slow”) to a faster flow which can be heard in “We Takin Over”, Touch, “My Love”, “Make It Rain Remix” and “I’m a Flirt remix”.