T.I. is without a doubt one of the most commercially successful hip-hop artists of the 2000s. Originally going by his childhood nickname of TIP, he was signed to Arista Records in 2001. That’s the year the rapper lost the ‘P’ from his name out of respect for A Tribe Called Quest legend Q-Tip, also signed to Arista at the time. However, success only came for T.I. once he formed his own recording label by the name of Grand Hustle two years later. He’s released 8 more albums on it since then, including Trap Muzik which popularized the now booming hip-hop subgenre, as well as numerous hits such as the Top-10 Bring ‘Em Out, What You Know and Big Shit Poppin’ (Do It).
It was only a matter of time before T.I. would top the charts, and 2008’s Whatever You Like had the honor. Produced by Jim Jonsin, also known for Lil Wayne’s Lollipop, the beat of the song samples Bill Conti’s Redemption from the opening and closing scenes of Rocky II. The song was written by the rapper in the midst of a trial, and all the lyrics were written on paper, two aspects I’d previously discussed when writing about his other #1 hit from the same year.
Whatever You Like spent 7 non-consecutive weeks at number one in Billboard Top 100, first being dethroned by Pink’s So What, second and third by T.I.’s very own Whatever You Like (featuring Rihanna).