T.I. Turns Novelist With 'Power & Beauty'; Talks Freedom & Family
On Tuesday, October 18, Harper Collins will release the first book written by rapper Clifford "Tip" Harris, better known as the rapper T.I. The book, entitled Power & Beauty: A Love Story of Life on the Streets (William Morrow), is a novel written by Tip "T.I." Harris with David Ritz, a novelist who has also co-written the true life stories of such artists as Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and Grandmaster Flash.
In an interview with Billboard just two weeks after he was released from an Atlanta halfway house (after serving an 11-month sentence in federal prison for violating the conditions of his parole stemming from a 2008 guilty plea on felony weapons charges) the chart-topping, Grammy Award-winning rapper said that he hopes Power & Beauty would fill a hole in the marketplace.
Asked why he chose to deliver a novel as his debut rather than a biography or a memoir, T.I. said it was all about defying expectations. "I was always raised to, or at least raised in this industry, in entertainment, I was raised to never ever let them see you coming, keep them guessing," he said. "When they think you're going right, go left. So after that, if at all possible, I would want my [first] book to be something out of left field."
On the business front, T.I. said the Grand Hustle team was "proud to death" of the new B.o.B. single, "Strange Clouds," which features Lil Wayne and currently sits at No. 19 on the Hot 100. Grand Hustle is currently setting up for the release of B.o.B.'s sophomore album, Strange Clouds and T.I. said that the label is looking to shoot a video for the title track "in the next week or so." "We're looking forward to a huge year for him," said T.I. B.o.B.'s chart-topping debut album, B.o.B. Presents the Adventures of Bobby Ray, appeared on Grand Hustle/Rebel Rock/Atlantic last year and featured the hit singles "Nothin' On You," which featured Bruno Mars and hit No. 1 on the Hot 100, and "Airplanes," which featured Hayley Williams of Paramore and peaked at No. 2.
In addition to mapping out plans for the OMG Girlz, Young Dro, and newcomer, singer/songwriter Lil Sean, T.I. said that Grand Hustle is looking to restructure as it enters its eighth year. "[We're going to] reshape and remold this company from the bottom up, from an executive standpoint and an artist standpoint," he said of the label he co-founded with Jason Geter and that has been operating under the Warner umbrella, with distribution through Atlantic, since 2003. "It's a unanimous decision," he said. "The way we've done it, we've been considerably successful, but in order to do better, we're going to have to do things differently."
T.I. did not offer specifics regarding the Grand Hustle restructuring, but he did mention that there is a sequel to "Power & Beauty" already in the works, with a third installment to the series planned as well. "I'm halfway through ["Power & Beauty 2"], [but] I have to figure out the beginning of three before I get to the end of two," he said. "I know it sounds kind of backwards, but I'm trying to figure out what I want to do. Outside of that, I definitely have the intent of putting a biography together. And [my wife] Tameka and I, we're having discussions about doing a his and hers guide to relationships in the world of hip hop, in the fast lane of this generation."
"How to do it right and keep it tight," he added, with a laugh.
T.I. has released seven solo studio albums since his debut, I'm Serious, which appeared on Arista in 2001. His most recent album, No Mercy, debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 when it was released in December 2010. As an actor he has appeared in the films "ATL," "American Gangster," and "Takers," as well as in the MTV reality show, "T.I.'s Road to Redemption."
T.I.'s Grand Hustle Entertainment produced "Takers," along with Screen Gems, Rainforest Films, and Overbrook Entertainment. "Takers" opened at No. 1 for the weekend when it was released in Aug. 2010 and has grossed over $57 million according to IMDB. T.I. has a reality show with VH1 currently in the works. The series, said to be 10 episodes and centered on T.I.'s readjustment to life post-prison, is reportedly set to for a Dec. 5 debut.