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FEATURE ARTICLE

 
T.I.: King

 

Let’s just say modesty isn’t his thing.  After selling over 500,000 units of his fourth album King during his debut week, T.I. had this to say, "I feel I should have been right here in this position.”  We’ll be the judge of that.

 

Just Blaze starts the album out strong with the opening track, “King Back.”  Over fanfare horns and strings, T.I.'s album title doesn’t seem so self-appointed.  Just as noticeable is “I’m Talkin’ To You.” The name says it all.  After going through a laundry list of who he’s not talking to -

 

I ain't talkin to Jeezy cause that’s my brother
Ain't talkinto Face cause that's my father
Ain't talkin to Bun cause that's my uncle
Ain't talkin to Kast cause them my partners
Ain't talkin to Jigga cause that's my n*gga, the Real President Carter”

 

one can’t help but wonder who he is talking to.  Sure, he told reporters he had no one in particular in mind ("N*ggas expect me to have some elaborate story of who I'm talking to. But on the real, I'm talking about anybody who's representing fake sh*t.), however, it gets a little suspect when he drops lines like,“I know you wannabe just like me since you got ya new record deal n*gga.”  Anywho, T.I. cleans things up with Jamie Foxx’s help on the introspective “Live in the Sky.”  On it, T.I. bitterly reminisces over his deceased friends before going on to regret his own mistakes:

 

“OG's say I need to learn and be patient
You telling me with these seven years of probation
Pistol charges and a host of other open cases
If n*ggas only knew the kind of time I was facing
I tried to keep to myself but sometime I couldn’t take it
Got four kids with smiles on they faces
Mean more to me than my crown and my bracelet
Take that away from me and my life is butt naked.”

 

Other stand outs include “I’m Straight” featuring B.G. and Young Jeezy along with “What You Know” – delivered like a man who already owns the South.

 

Although much of the album is worthy of listening, it’s not without missteps.  On “Get It” T.I. again teams up with Swizz Beatz for the same magic that he blessed him with on T.I.’s “Bring Em Out” with little success.   Meanwhile, although it’s refreshing to see any rapper actually taking the time to say anything worthwhile, the introspective Pharrell track seems to be a knock off of Jay-Z’s “Allure” over keys. 

 

Faults aside, it’s no surprise that King was certified a cool gold during its first week.  The album is strong and shows T.I. effortlessly delivering has rags-to-riches-to-jail story.  While most artists hailing from the mecca of New York spend much of their albums giving an inventory of their most prized possessions, T.I. easily avoids that trap and gives the impression of providing a more sincere effort.  Perhaps that’s what will ensure his legacy as King.

 



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