One thing the self-proclaimed “King of the South” has learned throughout his years in the entertainment business is that “A lot of times people don’t think before they speak. They say whatever comes to their mind,” says 26-year-old, Grammy Award-winning rapper born Clifford Tip Harris.
With his fifth album since 2001, T.I. vs. T.I.P. (Grand Hustle/Atlantic Records, 2007), dropping on July 3; his AKOO (A King Of Oneself) clothing line in the works; and his supporting role next to Denzel Washington in American Gangster (Universal Pictures, 2007) following his big-screen debut in Chris Robinson’s ATL (Warner Bros. Pictures, 2006), T.I. has more than his hands full.
T.I. has also worked with his business partner, Jason Geter, in releasing a print publication called Dapper Magazine. These days, he’s also selling scripts to major film companies and owns one of the hottest nightclubs in Atlanta (Club Crucial), located in the Bankhead section of the ATL. Since its opening almost two years ago, people from all across the country fly out just to attend “Hustle & Flow Mondays,” an open mic night where several new artists have been discovered.
Staying true to his ATL roots, T.I. started an urban housing initiative, which provides new homes for low-income families, and is now expanding into construction of commercial properties. “My uncle is presently building a 15,000 square-foot home on 11 acres in South Atlanta, and I’m designing a 25,000 square-foot home to build next door,” T.I. says. “We’re basically building two private-home sub-divisions with entertainment, recreation and everything on site. They’ll have a security check-in gate and a fountain. One street will connect the two residences. I’m going to take that and show major developers my potential, with the hopes of being able to expand into doing bigger sub-divisions in other parts of the country as well.”
When corporate power broker Steve Stoute (who has also sought major endorsement deals for Jay-Z, Nas, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Justin Timberlake and a long list of others) reached out to inform T.I. that he was running Chevrolet’s urban marketing initiative, T.I. didn’t think twice about accepting the endorsement offer. “I’ve always been a fan of Chevrolet since I was younger,” T.I. says. “It was my pleasure to be involved.”