By Miles Montgomery and Jasmina Alston
ATLANTA (WANF) — Atlanta icon T.I. is best known as an award-winning rapper, actor, producer, entrepreneur, and businessman around the world. He recently added restaurant owner to his growing portfolio of accolades.
T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, opened his Trap City Cafe in September after a long three-year process.
T.I. sat down for an exclusive interview with Atlanta News First at the Trap City Cafe where he detailed opening the restaurant. He also spoke about the issues with gentrification and the lack of affordable housing.
“Well, this is close to three years in the works,” he said. “We started this project I think November or December of 2019 and we hit a lot of hiccups along the way. Of course, the pandemic threw a monkey wrench in our plans. A couple of times, cars ran through the building haphazardly. In the midst of our progress, I guess people couldn’t see on a rainy day.”
The restaurant is located at 660 Travis Street off of Northside Drive in the Bankhead community of Atlanta that T.I. is from.
“A large percentage of people who work in Atlanta cannot afford to live in Atlanta,” he said.
It’s one of the many challenges the Atlanta rap legend says he is working on for his city.
The three-time Grammy award-winner plans to bring affordable housing to his native Bankhead community.
The affordable housing project is in the works and is set to contain more than 100 units in a mixed-use community.
“I know people around my grandmother’s house, people around where I grew up who have been affected by gentrification. When I say affected, I mean the property value has risen and drove the taxes up so high to where neighbors of the community can hardly afford to stay in the community,” he said.
He posted an update on his Instagram page in October detailing the construction of the project.
Affordable housing initiatives have been a major topic in Atlanta, where rent prices continue to soar.
The Parkside Apartments held a ribbon-cutting ceremony where a new 182-unit complex opened to the public. It’s an investment the city of Atlanta made to ensure there is affordable housing in the community.
With inflation and rent skyrocketing across Atlanta and the United States, affordable housing units are more important than ever.
“Housing is foundational to a community’s health. And right here, right now, we don’t have enough of it in Atlanta, and at this time, we are in a fight to make sure that we do all we can to establish more and more and more affordable housing,” Atlanta mayor Andre Dickens previously told Atlanta News First.
When discussing opening the Trap City Cafe, T.I. spoke about the importance of putting it in Bankhead, a community like many in Atlanta that has been torn by gentrification.
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“We kept working and we collectively wanted to present an experience to the city, an experience to this community, especially that we felt wasn’t present,” he said. “We wanted to celebrate the most significant contributors to the culture that we wanted to feel authentic, representing the essence of who we are as a city and what these artists mean to the city. “You have streets, business, culture, community, art and all of these things intersect right here at the Trap City Cafe.”
T.I. says the restaurant is open daily and offers unique experiences for customers to enjoy, not just food and beverages. The restaurant hosts game nights on Mondays, R&B nights on Tuesdays, comedy nights on Wednesdays, karaoke on Thursdays, and more.
The Trap City Cafe is located next door to his world-renown Trap Music Museum. The Trap Music Museum recently celebrated its four-year anniversary since opening its doors in October 2018.
In August, T.I. was honored with the Georgia Outstanding Citizen award and was recognized by President Joe Biden with the Lifetime Achievement Volunteer Award. He also partnered with Moolah Wireless and Morris Brown College to distribute tablets to 200 college students.
T.I. is best known for his multiple chart-topping hit songs including 24′s, Rubber Band Man, Be Easy, Top Back, You Don’t Know Me, What You Know, We Takin’ Over, Blurred Lines, About The Money, On Top of The World, Big Things Poppin, and many more.
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