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Four tracks best illustrate the lyrical diary I gleaned from this album. Lead single "No Matter What" is a window into T.I.'s time under house arrest and is astounding in its sincerity and lyrical complexity, he raps "Even though it's heavy, the load I'll still carry it/ Grin and still bear it, win and still share it/ Apologies to the fans, I hope you can understand it/ Life can change directions, even when you ain't plan it." "Ready for Whatever" is a stunningly honest explanation of his weapons charges, "Yes officially I broke the law, but not maliciously/...Either die or go to jail, that's a heck of a decision/ But I'm wrong and I know it, my excuse is unimportant." "Slide Show" blessed by John Legend is likely the most inspirational rap track of the year, on which T.I. advises his fans, "Don't forget that impossible is nothing, your environment is irrelevant/ Just don't let your emotions, overpower your intelligence/ Refuse to give up, Your mistakes don't define you/ They don't dictate where you're headed, they remind you.Read more ›
Over the weekend while riding in a friend's car, I heard what I thought was a new Rihanna song, "Live my Life". The "guest rapper" (Yes, I knew it was T.I.) dropped this gem, "...the spirit of a hustler and the swagger of a college kid." I thought to myself, "Hey, I could get with lyrics like that."
When I got home I looked it up on Rhapsody and found the album "Paper Trail". Whoa! I am off the bench, put me in the game coach! This album is fantastic. The production values are outstanding, surpassing any album in any genre that I've heard in years and the lyrics and themes for a fist full of tracks are top notch as well. "56 Bars", "Whatever you Like", "No Matter What", "Swagga Like Us", "Slide Show" and "Dead and Gone" are all true bangers that will stand up to the best.
In short, this album turned this hip-hop agnostic into a true believer.
Unfortunately, up to now the music has not lived up to his ambition levels. Don't get me wrong Urban Legend & King (even T.I. vs T.I.P.) were great albums musically but you knew that T.I. was aiming even higher. He wanted his albums to be at the same level as 2pac, Eminem, B.I.G. at their respective primes.
He came close with King but I think he might have done it this one. If this was 1999 I wouldn't bet against this album going diamond. But thanks to the internet double platinum will be a stretch.
Comparisons to the greats are relevant because like them, T.I. has some monster hits on this album, "whatever You Like" and "Live Your Life" are already #1 hits. "No Matter What" was an undeniable street anthem and "What up, What's happenin'" has the streets & the mixtape circuit buzzing. And the great thing is that there is more hits to come.
This is not to say that the album is perfect (despite the 5 star rating) but neither were the greats. But like the Carter III, this album is one you'll remember when 10 yrs from now you think of the year 2008.
The key to the success of the album is T.I.'s hunger which is at pre-Urban Legend levels. But at the same time he maintains the swagger that he's become famous for. This is most evident on the monster track "Swagger Like Us" where T.I. flexes his swag and mic skills at the same time.Read more ›
The album opens up with a freestyle intro called "56 Barz" which is mostly braggadoccio with a repetitive DJ Toomp beat. "I'm Illy" is simular in conent to the intro, but the beat is a little better. For instance, He's saying that he's the best rapper since Tupac.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Still keeping it real having the best #1 album to listen and doesn't get old.Published 1 month ago by Jean Luc Pressoir
Great Album Perfect, love the lyrics. and you get a dvd with it.Published 9 months ago by Nintendo24
This is going to be one cd I will refuse to lend to anyone. It's mine, all mine!!!Published 16 months ago by Cindy