T.I. is no stranger to controversy. The self-proclaimed “King of the South” has experienced some very public legal woes in the last few years. Tip, born Clifford Harris, was arrested four times in a six-year span, and even served time in a federal prison on weapons charges. But since his last stint in lockup in 2011, the Atlanta rapper has been on a mission to overhaul his image.
T.I. authored two books– Power & Beauty (2011) and Trouble & Triumph (2012)—took on more acting roles, and last year began starring in a reality show that highlights his very close bond with his wife and kids.
On The Family Hustle, viewers see T.I. as a loving and involved dad who not only provides for his children, but also teaches them important life lessons along the way.
Through it all T.I. has continued to rack up platinum and gold plaques, but it seems like his new family-friendly image isn’t quite making his record company happy.
“Nah, [Atlantic Records] hated it. Labels love hardcore T.I. That keeps the cash register ringing. They don’t want me to go to prison and caught though. They want me to be the Teflon Don, and I can’t blame them. That shit’s sexy. But I’m older, man. I’m wiser, I’m calmer… I’m better, stronger. I’m ready for whatever tomorrow got coming.”
T.I.’s record company may not like his wholesome image, but I love it. While I’ve never been more than a cursory fan of his music, it’s hard not to root for Tip and his family as I watch them crack jokes, dole out hugs, and have what appears to be an amazing bond. Moreover, as crazy it sounds, T.I. is one of the most positive representations of black fatherhood on TV today.
So yes, being an involved dad may not be as sexy or as profitable as being a gangster to Atlantic Records—because let’s face it, they make money off of selling black death–but I’m happy that T.I. isn’t afraid to evolve into the man he needs to be for himself and his family.