By Miles Montgomery and Jasmina Alston
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ATLANTA (WANF) – An Atlanta icon, TI is best known as an award-winning rapper, actor, producer, entrepreneur and businessman around the world. He recently added a restaurant owner to his growing portfolio of accolades.
TI, real name Clifford Harris, opened his Trap City Cafe in September after a long three-year process.
TI sat down for an exclusive interview with Atlanta News First at the Trap City Cafe where he detailed the restaurant’s opening. He also spoke about gentrification issues and the lack of affordable housing.
“Well, it’s been almost three years of work,” he said. “We started this project, I think, in November or December 2019 and we encountered a lot of setbacks along the way. Of course, the pandemic has thrown a wrench into our plans. On a few occasions, cars randomly drove through the building. In the midst of our progress, I guess people couldn’t see a rainy day.
The restaurant is located at 660 Travis Street off Northside Drive in the Bankhead community of Atlanta, where TI 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’s working on for his city.
The three-time Grammy winner plans to bring affordable housing to his home community of Bankhead.
The affordable housing project is underway and is expected to contain over 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 property values have gone up and are driving taxes up so high that neighbors in the community can barely 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 rental prices continue to soar.
The Parkside Apartments held a ribbon-cutting ceremony where a new 182-unit complex opened its doors to the public. This is an investment the City of Atlanta has made to ensure there is affordable housing in the community.
With inflation and skyrocketing rents in Atlanta and the United States, affordable housing is more important than ever.
“Housing is essential to the health of a community. And here, right now, we don’t have enough of that in Atlanta, and right now we’re fighting to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to create more and more affordable housing,” said the mayor of Atlanta. Andre Dickens previously told Atlanta News First.
When discussing opening the Trap City Cafe, TI spoke about the importance of locating it in Bankhead, a community like many in Atlanta that has been torn apart by gentrification.
Atlanta legend rapper TI will headline the Stockbridge Amphitheater on September 16
“We kept working and we collectively wanted to present an experience to the city, an experience to this community, especially that we felt absent,” he said. “We wanted to celebrate the most significant contributors to culture who 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 those things intersect here at Trap City Cafe.”
TI says the restaurant is open daily and offers unique experiences for customers, not just food and drink. 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 to its famous Trap Music Museum. The Trap Music Museum recently celebrated its fourth anniversary since opening its doors in October 2018.
In August, TI received the Georgia Outstanding Citizen Award and was recognized by President Joe Biden with the Lifetime Achievement Volunteer Award. It has also partnered with Moolah Wireless and Morris Brown College to distribute tablets to 200 students.
TI is best known for his multiple 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, At The Top Of The world, Big Things Poppin and many more.
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