At the end of 2005, T.I. (born Clifford Harris) became a first-time best rap solo performance Grammy Award nominee for “U Don’t Know Me.” He also co-executive-produced the “Hustle & Flow” soundtrack, which yielded the newly minted Academy Award-winning best song, “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp.” But there is no time right now for glory-basking.
T.I. is in the midst of a promotional tour for his third Grand Hustle/Atlantic album, “King” (due this week), as well as his feature-film acting debut in “ATL.” In theaters March 31, the Warner Bros. Pictures film was co-written by Antwone Fisher and directed by noted video lensman Chris Robinson.
There is no official “ATL” soundtrack; however, several tracks from “King” are heard in the film including first single “What You Know,” “Front Back” and “Ride Wit Me,” which is featured in the trailer. For the new album, T.I. says, “what I set out to do was keep everything that people appreciated from my other projects. Then I just added whatever I thought was missing.”
“King,” whose title is derived from T.I.’s self-anointed sobriquet “king of the South,” is primed to deliver on the promise of his first two Atlantic albums. Offering up a mix of street anthems and club jams, the set includes cameos by Jamie Foxx (“Live in the Sky”), UGK (“Front Back”), BG and Young Jeezy (both on “I’m Straight”) and Pharrell and Common (“Goodlife”) plus Grand Hustle artists Young Dro, Governor and PSC (Pimp Squad Click). Producers include longtime cohorts the Neptunes, Just Blaze, Kevin “Khao” Cates, Swizz Beatz and Mannie Fresh.