To reach success, you have to push towards your goal even when the odds are stacked against you. Hip-hop’s history is full of rappers who didn’t get their just due early on or came from regions that weren’t getting the national respect they deserved. T.I. has experienced both sides of the struggle, being a lyrical rapper from Atlanta when the South was being accused of watering down rap. He got dropped from his record deal with Arista Records shortly after his first album, 2001’s I’m Serious, underperformed, but he never gave up and even launched his own label, Grand Hustle Entertainment. Now, as a respected trap music pioneer with three Grammy Awards and 10 solo albums later, Tip is a legend because of skill and pure willpower. Here, XXL ranks all of T.I.‘s albums throughout his illustrious career.
In a span of releases stretching from 2001 to 2018, T.I. has found a way to evolve as he became a bigger artist while still retaining the clever raps and incredible technical skill that got him to this point. The aforementioned I’m Serious LP was his first step into the game, and offered flashes of what he could one day become. Even with so much rap potential that wasn’t yet realized, T.I. made a bold claim that he would eventually live up to: he called himself the “King of the South.” He lived up to the title and was seriously considered as such years later, which is a testament to how hard he worked.
His 2003 sophomore album, Trap Muzik, was widely considered a jump up in quality from his debut LP. T.I.’s music sounded even more solid, and his songwriting ability pushed him into elite company. Now, young Clifford from Bankhead had Billboard Hot 100 hits, with “24’s” and “Rubber Band Man,” two songs that were unique in their own right, and “Let’s Get Away,” the smooth song about a romantic getaway that showed T.I. as a ladies’ man. This ground work allowed T.I. to turn into a superstar, after the release of his 2004 follow-up, Urban Legend.
T.I.’s longevity comes with the respect from the streets and how he kicked his career off, putting the work in to become the star he saw in himself. He went on a run of commercial success in the second half of the 2000s with albums King, T.I. vs. T.I.P., Paper Trail and No Mercy, and his most recent LP being 2018’s Dime Trap. With all these accomplishments, T.I. still has more to offer purely because he loves hip-hop and has always treated it with care.
Check out every T.I. album ranked, from 2001’s I’m Serious to 2018’s Dime Trap, below.
See Every T.I. Album Ranked