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Why Rapper-Turned-Entrepreneur T.I. Says a Hustler Needs to Be Patient The Atlanta rap star is now into everything from TV to real estate -- and learning important lessons along the way.

By Joe Keohane

This story appears in the July 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Harris Photo

T.I. is hiring. On July 19, the Grammy-winning rapper behind gargantuan hits like "Live Your Life" and "Whatever You Like" is launching a BET reality show, The Grand Hustle, to find the next executive for his company. It's the latest in his effort to expand the Atlanta-based business he started in 2003, which is also called Grand Hustle. Along with being a co-owner of the streaming music service Tidal, T.I.'s company is cultivating the next generation of young artists, producing TV and film and investing in everything from technology to fashion to real estate. All the while, T.I. (real name Tip Harris), who at the very peak of his rap career a decade ago had frequent and well-publicized troubles with the law, is coming into his own as a philanthropist, an actor, a manager and an executive with his hands in a dizzying number of pots. We talked to him about making the transition from solo artist to corporate boss, what he looks for in an employee and why hip-hop has always been such a hotbed of entrepreneurship.

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Earlier in your career, your product was just your art. How do you think of your brand, Grand Hustle, now?