July 15, 2007
TI vs TIP
This is what, his 5th album? I’m Serious, Trap Muzik, Urban Legend, King. Yeah, that sounds right. Now from the jump I’ll admit I was never a huge fan. I mean I liked Rubberband Man, but I never had his early albums in my rotation. That said, this release is alright. Yeah, just alright. Considering the hype, it was a bit of a letdown. Especially as a follow up to King, which was a pretty impressive piece front to back.
Ok, let’s get into it. The album kicks off with an intro/skit/song called Act I, which is T.I.P. going off on the record company. He’s fed up with rapping and he’s not dropping shit til 2028. He’s flowing his ass off here but sometimes it’s hard to catch what he’s saying, but you get the message. He’s T.I.P. and he’s pissed off. Then comes Big Shit Poppin, which is in the vein of a “What You Know About That” or a “You Don’t Know Me” but isn’t as good as either one. It’s a high energy song..it just sounds forced to me. “Raw” is a very generic track. He’s still T.I.P. and he’s still mad. It’s slow and blah. Now “You Know What It Is” with Wyclef actually is starting to grow on me. Maybe it’s just the T.I.P side of his persona but he seems to be very limited on content. He’s a real nigga..everyone else is fake..he’s rich..everyone else is not..you get the picture. But I can actually listen to this song now, which is good right? Next is “Da Dopeman” which….maybe it’s me sounding like the parent I am but..the song is a how-to of the dope game. He just takes you through the steps of being a successful drug pusher. Which I think is pretty stupid. I mean, I feel like he’s just proving that he really knows that shit and he used to do it or whatever. But nobody needs to hear that shit. Kids are gonna think it’s cool. And he has kids. It just makes me uncomfortable. The chorus is “I’m da dopeman nigga..da dopeman nigga..da dope da dope dope da dopeman nigga”. The song is stupid. Period. If only it wasn’t so catchy. I guess he tries to be responsible by throwing the comment in at the end “This shit is a dead-end street. The choice is yours.” Whatever T.I.(P.)
Then we have “Watch What You Say To Me” which is barely listenable besides the Jay-Z feature. The beat is boring. The chorus is bad. The T.I. verses are forgettable. Just more tough talk. Jigga comes correct on this track but even though he’s my favorite rapper, you and I both know he’s no tough guy. There’s been talk of his verse being directed toward Lil Wayne, Game, Cam’Ron, and everyone else. Now I could see different lines being for different people, but I could just as easily see it as him just following the concept for the song and speaking in general terms. Who knows, but I find myself skipping to the next song after his verse either way. The next track is definitely the best we’ve heard so far and we’re nearly halfway through. Not a good sign. Anyway, “Hurt” is a song I can’t stop listening to. The beat is ill. All the verses are on point. The chorus also isn’t painfully annoying which I thought may have been the hidden theme of the album. It’s a “don’t fuck with me” song full of gun threats but it’s beautifully executed.
Moving into the T.I. portion, we start with Act II which is damn near the same as Act I. Next. There’s a track titled “Help is Coming” about how he’s gonna save hip-hop. He’s rapping really fast..but he’s just talkin about hip-hop isn’t dead because he’s rich and he still sells records. Somebody get in touch with T.I. and tell him that’s not what we mean when we say hip-hop is dead. Quality, not quantity. That’s the key. “My Swag” is just generic album filler about how he’s cool. The beat is ok, but he’s not saying much of anything. “We Do This” may as well have been the same song. Nice beat, but still filler with a garbage chorus. I just can’t listen to him say “I promise we the coolest” in that terrible voice. And then, just what we needed, a duet with Nelly. “Show It To Me” sounds like “Flap Your Wings” or “Shake Ya Tailfeather”..not good. It’s not even as good as the collab they had on Urban Legend, “Get Loose”. At least the beat was decent on that one. The album continues going downhill, with “Don’t You Want To Be High” which is so boring, it should skip itself, and “Touch Down” a complete mess of a collab with Eminem. It’s bad, bad, bad. All around.
4 tracks, left. Now the T.I. vs T.I.P. section. Can the album be saved? Let’s hope so; it can’t get much worse. Act III is hilariously corny though. He confronts himself..”Meet me at the mirror!” So they do a lot of cussin and arguin before getting into the last set of songs. “Tell Em I Said That” is a bit of a relief. The beat is exceptional..the chorus is nice, the verses are solid. He’s telling the listener that their favorite rapper is a big phony. He’s the only real nigga out. Best song since the T.I.P. section. “Respect This Hustle” is pretty nice too. It’s solid, kinda laid-back. At this point, anything half-decent seems brilliant. He’s going back and forth with himself, trying to convince himself which path to take. In a way, I felt left out when he was talking to himself. Like he wasn’t making the song for us, but just to straighten out his personal issues. The closing song, the introspective “My Type” is about how he’s the last of a dying breed and after him, there will be no more. It’s told from the perspective of after his death, which is kinda creepy, I mean creative..creative.
Overall, I rank this album behind King, behind Urban Legend, behind Trap Muzik, and right ahead of I’m Serious. Maybe he was high off of his success in 06 with King and the movie ATL. Maybe he needed DJ Toomp. I don’t know what he needed, but I do know that this is not the mix of “brilliance and insanity” that he promised us. However, in the current state of hip-hop releases, it’s still refreshing to hear an album from an artist who actually has talent.
Tell Em I Said That
Respect This Hustle