T.I. is a 38 year old rapper from Atlanta, Georgia who started out as the founding member of P$C in 1997. He then went solo in 2001 with his debut album I’m Serious, but it didn’t do well commercially & he was dropped from Arista Records as a result. He then formed his own label Grand Hustle Records & dropped his sophomore album Trap Muzik in 2003, which had a huge hand in popularizing the titular hip hop subgenre. He then continued the success of that album with Urban Legend & King, but then his next album T.I. vs. T.I.P. would be a disappointing longwinded mixed bag with a pretty great concept. He redeemed himself with Paper Trail in 2008, but dropped another mixed bag with No Mercy in 2010. Both of which came out during back to back prison sentences. He then returned to the scene at the end of 2012 with the flawed yet solid Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head in 2012 as well as the Pharrell executive produced Paperwork in 2014. He then took a more political tone at 2016 with his double EP Us or Else: Letter to the System but now, he’s returning with his highly anticipated 10th full-length album.
Things kick off with “Seasons”, where TIP talks about his desire to succeed over an organ. The next track “Laugh at ‘Em” is a middle finger to his haters over a triumphant Just Blaze beat while the song “Big Ol’ Drip” vividly talks about the drug dealing lifestyle over a trap beat with some nice horns in the mix. The track “Wraith” with Yo Gotti sees the 2 getting braggadocious over a gloomy Scott Storch instrumental while the song “The Weekend” with Young Thug talks about partying over a boom bappy Swizz Beatz instrumental with a prominently twangy guitar.
The track “The Amazing Mr. Fuck Up” endearingly addresses his current relationship with his wife Tiny over a laidback boom bap beat with Victoria Monet providing some background vocals while the song “At Least I Know” continues the theme of the previous joint with a moody beat. The track “What Can I Say?” reflects on how he got to where he is today over a druggy trap beat while the song “Jefe” with Meek Mill sees the 2 charismatically calling themselves bosses over a Latin-infused trap beat from Bangladesh. The track “More & More” with Jeezy sees the 2 talking about making money over a gritty trap beat with an organ while the song “Pray for Me” does talk about backstabbers, the YFN Lucci verse at the start is probably the weakest feature on the entire album.
The track “Looking Back” sees TIP getting retrospective on his life over a somber David Banner instrumental while the song “Light Day” is a message to those who wanna live the life that T.I. lived in the past with what could very well be the best flow on the entire album. The penultimate track “You” talks about judgmental people over an instrumental with a somber atmosphere to it & the closer “Be There” is all about being by someone’s side when feeling down over an eerie instrumental with a guitar that kicks in later.
For the 4 year wait, this was well worth it. The production’s on point, Dave Chappelle’s narrations are intelligent & T.I. gets a lot off his chest lyrically. If you wanna hear a trap legend sounding more mature than ever, then give this a listen.