Album Review: T.I. – Paper Trail

2 10 2008


Last October, T.I.’s career was being questioned due to his arrest from gun possession. Many wondered if it would cause Tip to go on a hiatus or would he still remain relevant while he is locked up. Since T.I. was proven guilty, he was issued 1000 hours of community service, and has to do a year in jail. Since T.I.’s jail time is delayed until community service is complete, it gave him more time to focus on his music and bring his latest effort Paper Trail.

4/5

The album’s predecessor, T.I. vs. T.I.P. was an thematic attempt for T.I. to show his more creative side with an “alter ego” style album which received average reviews. With Paper Trail, T.I. went with his typical album formula; hard bass beats, club friendly tracks, and a couple of joints that appeal to the ladies.
The albums opener “56 Bars”, T.I. hooks up with longtime collaborator DJ Toomp, dropping 56 lines straight with no hook. While the song sounds reminiscent to the “Trap Muzik” album, T.I. names who he feels is the best and on his level when he says: “Ranked up there with Benjamin/Who? Andre 3K, B.I.G., Jay-Z, UGK, Scarface, Makaveli the great/Wayne, Common, Kanye andLupe/So fuck what you say”. T.I. continues to show his confidence in his music with the follow up track “I’m Illy” (not to be confused with the “A Millie”), and “Ready For Whatever”.

While the first three openers appeal more to the streets, Paper Trail starts to lean towards the commercial side in the beginning to middle of the album. The “from-nothing-to-something anthem” “Top Of the World” features an unlikely feature by former rival Ludacris, and newcomer B.O.B.. T.I. also links up with Rihanna on “Live Your Life”, a Just Blaze produced track that has crossover potential. Other tracks like “Swing Ya Rag”, “Porn Star”, and the lead single “Whatever You Like”, also add to Paper Trail’s mainstream appeal.
The post summer smash “Swagga Like Us” which features heavyweights Kanye, Hov, and Wayne is one of the albums biggest gems. The M.I.A. sampled hook features a dope beat by Mr. West, and an impressive verse from not only Jay-z but T.I.. T.I. shows his lyrical growth on “S.L.U.” spitting lines like: You know see Weezy for the wordplay, Jeezy for the bird play/Kanyeezy for diversity and me for controversy/I’m a verse that’s picture perfect, only spit to serve a purpose/You ain’t livin what you kickin then you worthless/Lookin from the surface it may seem like I got reason to be nervous/Been observant, work to see if my adversity was worth it”.

The album slows down towards the end with the nostalgic “Slide Show”, the behind the walls dedication “You Ain’t Missin Nothin'”, and the final track “Dead and Gone” which features Justin Timberlake. Not only is JT on the hook, he also shows off his production skills on the track. “Dead and Gone” serves as a tribute to lost ones and also T.I. starting a new beginning; bringing the album to a close. In conclusion, Paper Trial is much better than T.I. vs. T.I.P., and it also shows T.I.’s growth as an artist. T.I. proves that no matter how much pressure and problems he experiences, he still manages to make above satisfactory music.

To Sum It Up In One Word: FlyPaper

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3 responses

7 10 2008
M*

I THOUGHT HE REALLY WAS GUNNA FALL OFF– IT WAS DUMB 4 HIM TOO GET N TROUBLE W THA LAW — 1000 CS IS ALOT BUT HIS DOIN THEM,HE HAS EVEN GONE TO MY OLD HIGH SCHOOL TO DO SOME –LOL

GO TI

7 10 2008
L The Hustla

I was surprised in the album as well cause his last one was ok.
1000 hrs of community service is a grip, him being a celeb they’ll probably drop it eventually. Money talks bullshit walks.

8 10 2008
M*

tru dat!!

swing ya rag!!!!

do got tha cd- i wanna listen to it damn i almost got a free cd at thT LA CONCERT

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