When it comes to the South, it’s impossible to argue that T.I. doesn’t wear the crown. From the release of his 2009 major-label debut, I’m Serious, T.I.P. has experienced unprecedented career highs amidst personal setbacks and lows.
Arguably one of the godfathers of the Trap movement, he’s released nine studio album over the past 15 years, seven of them cracking the top five on the Billboard charts. His immense status and success have him often associated with the elite upper echelon of hip-hop, alongside peers Jay Z, Kanye and Jeezy.
He’s transcended beyond just music, too. T.I. is a successful author, actor and reality television star who's found success with his VH1 show starring his wife, Tiny, and children. As well, he’s a notable business person with numerous endorsement deals, a nightclub and a side gig as the Global Creative Consultant of Rémy Martin Cognac in his portfolio. Unfortunately, all this success hasn’t come without a few setbacks. He’s served two terms in county jail for probation violations and a federal prison bid for a U.S. federal weapons charge. It’s how’s he’s spun his bad decisions, though, that’s been so inspiring.
In recent years, he’s become increasingly philanthropic, using his name, celebrity and K.I.N.G. Foundation to help make a difference in the community that raised him. He’s also quite literally saved lives -- three to be exact.
In case you've missed them, we've compiled a list of 12 ways that the Rubberband Man has made a positive difference over the past five years, adding a ton of stacks into his karma bank.
Rescues Scott Stapp From Suicide Attempt
Scott Stapp is no stranger to the limelight. He's the incredible lead singer of the platinum-selling band Creed. A philanthropist, his With Arms Wide Open Foundation has donated over a million dollars to help children worldwide, and him and his wife worked heavily to promote fundraising for victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Unfortunately, though, he's also fought drug issues, battled thoughts of suicide and attempted to kill himself back in 2012. As Stapp tells it, after a Miami drug binge, he leaped 40 feet from his penthouse and landed on another room's balcony, breaking his hip and fracturing his skull. Two-and-a-half hours later, T.I. -- literally off the street without planning -- walked into the hotel and took the only room left. He walked in, saw Scott and immediately took control of the situation, saving his life. The two had met once before while writing music for the Passion of the Christ soundtrack. God works in mysterious ways.
Talks Man Down From Building in Atlanta
The Scott Stapp incident was far from the only time T.I. was able to save a life. While en-route to a video shoot, T.I. heard on the radio that 24-year-old Joshua Starks was threatening to jump from the 400 Colony Square building in Atlanta. T.I. promptly called his friend Ryan Cameron, an on-air personality at Atlanta's V-103 -- which happens to be in the building the man was on. After giving T.I.P. the details of the situation at hand, he convinced the rapper to show up to try persuade the man off the ledge. He arrived short time later and recorded a heartfelt video message, which Atlanta PD officers showed the man. "Nothing is that bad ... you can make it through anything," pleaded T.I., urging the man to come down and chat with him. The man, after seeing the video, came down off the ledge and met with T.I. in the lobby before being taking to nearby hospital. T.I. pledged to remain in contact with the young man.
Pays for Christmas Shopper’s Presents at Wal-Mart
Christmas is a wonderful and terrible time of year -- depending on your perspective and socioeconomic situation. For many, it's a stark reminder of their financial woes, as they desperately try to get everything on their family's wish list. T.I., a father himself, definitely has never forgotten where he came from and isn't afraid to show it. Over the holiday season, he made a Christmas Eve visit to two Atlanta area Wal-Marts and surprised shoppers by paying for all of their last-minute holiday purchases. Talk about holiday cheer.
Helps 14 Families Visit His Former Fellow Inmates
T.I.'s legal woes have been anything but a secret over the past decade. Needless to say, he's undoubtedly made friends in the system and understands firsthand the impact that incarceration can have on not only the prisoners, but their families, especially as they have to celebrate holidays and milestones without fathers, sons and husbands. Good guy T.I. paid and made all the necessary arrangements, to have the families/friends of 14 of his fellow Forrest City Correctional Facility inmates to visit them over the 2011 Memorial Weekend. "There are a lot of good dudes in here that haven't been able to see their loved ones in years. Their families can't afford the trip, so I wanted to help out," said T.I.
Launches Campaign to Help Homeless Veterans
According to research, there are approximately 300,000 vets in the U.S. who are faced with the challenges of (potentially) becoming homeless daily. T.I. and his wife Tiny decided to shine the spotlight directly on the issue in 2012, through their K.I.N.G. Foundation with the launch the “Give Like A King” campaign, in partnership with the Georgia-based Veterans Empowerment Organization (VEO). VEO provides local vets with housing, meals, health care, substance abuse aftercare, mental health counseling and job training/placement assistance. His aim was to inspire people worldwide to give back, and get involved in their local communities; "We have to have someone else’s back…not just our own.”
Gives Free Concert to Thousands in Memphis
As part of the taping for the season finale of his VH1 reality show, T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle, in 2012, T.I. gave a free concert for thousands of Memphis locals to encourage donations of food to the local Mid-Soth Food Bank. He also urged toys to be donated as part of a separate drive organized by local establishments and the city of Memphis. “Me being one of those kids that didn’t have anybody to give back to them, kind of you know. It made me want to give back more,” T.I. told local media. His leadership, and giving spirit was recognized by the mayor during the event, who presented him a key to the city. Good karma never hurts.
Fundraising Earns Him Key to the City of Jacksonville
In September of 2014, T.I. was given the key to the city of Jackson, Miss., as a cumulative response to his community service in the city over the year, but primarily for his over and above fundraising efforts following the Hurricane Katrina disaster. As he accepted the honor, he told onlookers, “Just knowing that I can use my past -- good and bad -- to help assist the future, the children, the teenagers, the young adults, and the grown people who may have to go through the same thing. Just because I fell in something, it doesn’t mean I have to stay down in it.” While in town, he also stopped at a few local schools to talk to the children.
Rescues Car Crash Victim
On a routine drive to an Inglewood Popeye’s back in 2014, T.I. once again found himself in a position to possibly save a life. He witnessed a horrendous car wreck, as he waited for the light to change; a taxi cab slammed into an SUV making it roll onto its side. He calmly walked to the wreckage and stayed with the injured woman driver -- keeping her spirits up until the ambulance came. Afterward, with the hunger still being real, he continued on his way to Popeye’s; albeit, he opted to hit up a different location.
Surprises Students at Dallas High School
Part of T.I. putting his troubled past behind him is using his fame and influence to mentor at-risk youth, helping them to steer them clear of the path he went down, avoiding his mistakes. T.I. spent a chunk of the latter half of 2015 touring the nation, and speaking to youth about the dangers of both drugs and gangs. “The things you have and the things you don't have, are a direct reflection of what you were able to learn in school,” T.I. told the students at Dallas ISD’ Madison Highschool during a surprise visit, which was captured by media.
Donates Toys and Turkeys in His Community
It’s all about giving back to the communities that help support and embrace you. Depending on the season, T.I. can be found handing out toys at, both on his own though his K.I.N.G. Foundation and/or in conjunction with other rap superstars, and Charities such as 2 Chainz’s T.R.U. Foundation. He’s also been known to hand out turkeys to deserving families in his hometown during Thanksgiving.
T.I. Helps Victim at Irving Plaza Shooting
In an ugly night for hip-hop, a shooting broke out at T.I.’s show in Irving Plaza in New York City on May 25 that left one man dead and three other victims injured. In the middle of the chaos, video was captured by Jon John TV of T.I. protecting one of the victims with his bodyguard as he called for an ambulance. Around the 1:37-mark of the video you can see Tip -- who’s been known to saves lives -- and his bodyguard ushering people from the backstage dressing room and establishing order while calming individuals down.
“Call the ambulance, we got somebody in here, they been hit and they need some attention,” one bodyguard said.
As authorities came inside the venue, the bodyguards got the paramedics’ attention so they can perform treatment on the victim. By the end of the clip, T.I. and his team hop into their SUV and drive away.
Among the current finalists are, Fate Loves The Fearless, an education and mentorship program to help Detroit youth excel in school, Shaw Inspires “Teen-Preneurs,” an In-school, after school, weekend and summer mentoring and leadership program for youth ages 11-25, The Musicianship’s 2016 Summer Camp, a camp that provides music lessons for young people, Generation You Employed, a program that helps the unemployed youth with skills and job readiness in five countries, Educate Me College Tour, whereAnnual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) College Tour provide cultural and educational experiences that inspire students and Truancy Intervention Project, a drop-out prevention agency that partners trained community volunteers with children in the Atlanta and Fulton County Public School Systems.