For persons lost in the haze of addiction, hitting rock bottom can happen repeatedly before the message penetrates the fog.
Such appears to be the story of Clifford Harris, better known to his fans as the rapper T.I. The singer’s young life contains a long string of drug-related problems with the law.
The latest meeting with the law was an 11-month jail sentence for possession of drugs while still on probation. Released from prison on September 29th, 2011, the rapper says he is finally ready to turn the corner and try a new and more promising road than the one he has been traveling.
T.I. has achieved great success in the entertainment industry releasing several hit albums (seven in all). He has also performed with his genre’s top names (Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Rhianna) including king of hip-hop Eminem. He has even taken on film acting roles. He may be best known for his popular single Live Your Life but has matched his wealth of talent with a penchant for trouble.
Along the way, he has managed to land twice in the county jail for violations of probation and once in federal prison on weapons-related charges. Most recently (2010) the rapper admitted to an addiction to the prescription drugs OxyContin and hydrocodone following oral surgery. He is one of a growing number of those who have struggled with an addiction to prescription painkillers.
Collaboration in music isn’t all that T.I. shares in common with Eminem. Both men have had to deal with the evils of addiction and the personal struggles within and without that so often accompany addiction. After getting sober, Eminem resorted to sleeping aids and needed to enter a drug rehab facility in order to break free. Evidently, he made efforts to get in touch with T.I. during his prison sentence in order to lend support and encouragement. T.I. highlights the hip-hop king’s outreach and encouragement to overcome his addiction in interviews which he gave after his September 29 prison release.
New recordings are in the works and the rapper intends to reciprocate the overtures made by Eminem. Given the attention both men draw, a joint effort to lead lives of sobriety could send a powerful message to youth. The rapper T.I. has been quoted as praising Eminem for his victory over personal demons and addiction, saying that the icon has re-set the bar for what defines the most successful artist in hip-hop.
T.I. is out of prison and has voiced a desire to make some changes in the direction his life is headed. While grateful for the public support of Eminem and others, the rapper speaks with the voice of maturity when he says that despite the support one may receive from others, the decision must begin with you to get a life back on the right track. After a long tale of misdirected youth, T.I. says he is ready, with help, to make the internal changes that will set his feet on a new and better path.