The EnterPAINment Industry: Clifton Harris Jr. (T.I)
On September 25, 1980, it was a beautiful day in Atlanta, Georgia when Clifford Harris Jr entered the world. Violeta Morgan and Clifton Harris Sr, his parents, moved to New York and decided to leave him behind in Atlanta. He was raised by his grandparents in an Atlanta Center Hill neighborhood. With no parents in a rough neighborhood, he saw things at a very young age. At age 8, he started to rap and write lyrics. His career seemed to be promising even at that age but as a teenager, the issues he lived around seemed to affect him. He started dealing drugs and smoking it. Harris Jr. became troublesome. By the age of 14, he was arrested several times. Despite the struggles, he still maintained to stay in school. During it, he created mixtapes with help from friends and sold them from his car trunk. Once in high school, he was not known as just a dealer on the streets but a rapper on it. In response, he dropped out of school and continued to hustle for what he wanted. After such a bold move, his talent was recognized, and GHET-O-VISION RECORDS signed him. From then on, what he dreamed about was coming true.
Gheto-O-Vision Records was an affiliate of ARISTA RECORDS. By this time Harris was known as T.I. Arista released his 1st studio album IM SERIOUS in 2001 and the results were not pretty. The album was a failure. As a result, the record company dropped him. T.I went on and founded his own. He formed GRAND HUSTLE ENTERTAINMENT. There, he began releasing mixtapes and did a feature in 2003 on a fellow Atlanta rappers’ song NEVER SCARED. The success continued to come but a life he tried to get away from continued to try to interfere. He had disputes with other Atlanta Artists. The mixtapes he released under his entertainment company became a success. Along with the tapes, the song he was featured on gained mainstream exposure. Major labels were in contact but instead of being barred down with one he did the smart thing. He signed a joint deal with one. ATLANTIC RECORDS was who he signed with. Later that year in 2003, he released his second album entitled TRAP MUZIK. The success did not go unnoticed. T.I was household name in Atlanta and out of it. T.I recaptured major label attention with just a feature and a few mix tapes.
T.I was all over Atlanta before he started and after it. The success came quite fast and the old life stuck around. The troublesome teenager had to deal with consequences. He violated his probation of a 1997 drug conviction. He did the same thing the next year. By 2004, he had a warrant for his arrest and was put in prison for three years. While in prison, he was still working. In May of the same year, he was released on probation. He served his time but continued to struggle letting go of the troublesome life he grew up with and he wanted everyone to know it. He was featured to play the role of an orphaned teen named Rashad in the movie ATL. The film was about his life. While recording it, T.I violated probation again. Once the movie released he was in court. He was arrested in Florida. He was convicted of battery in 2003 in Tampa. After filming and releasing the film he was arrested in 2007 for two felonies. He had weapons that weren’t registered and during the time he was a convicted felon. He later spent a year and a day in prison. Despite his troubles, he maintained to crawl out of them all, but he struggled to put away that troublesome life for good.
In July 30, 2010 the Rapper seemed to have noticed that he will never shake his troublesome lifestyle. So, he married the girl that was there for him through it since 2001. TAMEKA COTTIE from the female group XSCAPE. He started a family with Tameka before the marriage. He had a daughter from a previous relationship. After they married the rapper and his wife was arrested for drug charges. T.I was sentenced to 11 months in prison for violating probation again. The charges were later dropped but he still had to serve his time. He was released from prison in 2011. After his release, he was sent to a community living facility. In August of 2015, the rapper had liens on his property from the IRS. The liens totaled $4.5 million for unpaid taxes from 2012-2013. The issues seemed to be too much for Tameka to handle. She divorced him in 2016 but they have reconciled since.
In 2018 TI was arrested again. He was put in jail and released the same day. He did everything he could but just couldn't get away from troublesome lifestyle. The same year he was arrested he opened a trap museum to coincide with his album Trap Muzik. The exhibit had mixed reviews because of what is in it. There are weapon replicas, drugs replicas and more glorifying a troublesome lifestyle. Despite that museum, T.I loved his community and the youth in it. He wanted them to not be the way he was and looked to inspire every chance he got. In the movie ATL he was a brother that worked hard to take care of his younger brother. His younger brother became involved in a lifestyle that would disable him in the long run. As the older, he saved his brother. In real life, he and his wife created a reality show which aired on MTV showing his family life. In 2006, he saved a man from committing suicide. He gave back to his community and founded businesses. He wanted to make a great life for himself and others early and after his career was over. He just could not shake the lifestyle he grew up with.
The Trap Museum
- Here's Your First Look at T.I.'s Trap Music Museum, Now Open in Atlanta | WQMG
This pop-up museum salutes multiple top trap-artists.
- T.I. curates pop-up trap music museum in Atlanta | The FADER
This year marks the 15th anniversary of Tip’s genre-defining album, Trap Muzik.
- T.I. Launches Investment Syndicate Tech Cypha - Black Enterprise
Artist Clifford Joseph ‘T.I.’ Harris, Jr. alongside longtime partner Jason Geter have launched Tech Cypha, a new investment syndicate focused on early, growth and late-stage startups.