T.I. is considering changing his rap moniker because the stage name means nothing to him.
The “Live Your Life” star began his early career using his childhood nickname Tip, but he was forced to ditch the moniker when he launched his mainstream career amid label officials’ fears he would get mixed up with A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip.
“Early on in my career when I was kind of asked, or it was suggested that I should change my name, you know, it was very difficult to find something else to call myself short notice just for the purpose of rap,” he tells the Huffington Post. “Because my music was just an extension of me, so to have to create another label or name for myself was very difficult and I wasn’t very successful at it.”
LaFace Records executive Kawan Prather suggested he simply drop the ‘p’, but the rapper wasn’t convinced: “I was like, ‘Wh-wh-what (sic) the hell is a T.I.?'”
T.I., real name Clifford Harris, was reportedly told he wouldn’t be able to move forward and make music until a moniker was chosen.
“So I said, ‘Go ahead, put T.I. on there, no problem,’ and it just happened to have stuck,” he continued.
However, the hip-hop star is now eager to switch up his professional name and go back to using Tip, after releasing his 2015 EP Da’ Nic under the nickname.
It is not yet known if T.I. will use Tip again for his next album, The Dime Trap, but he is hopeful it’ll be greenlighted by label bosses.
“Now, I think just as many people know me as Tip as T.I.,” he says. “So, I guess I wanted to have people call me my actual name.”
“We made a conscious decision to have a lot more faith in the (label) operations of our art early on,” he adds. “But right now, just to be able to (go by Tip) and have it be significant and have people still care about the music being released, it’s incredibly flattering. I’m humbled, I appreciate all the love.”