T.I. / No Mercy / Warner
Los Angeles prison bars couldn’t stop incarcerated actor and hip hop artist T.I. from breaking out – vocally at least – with his seventh full length album. The artist does some nice-making to fans and friends on “Get Back Up” (alongside fellow bad boy Chris Brown), apologizing for once again running afoul of the law, but overall the album is less mea culpa and more mea gangsta. As per usual on a T.I. release, the only thing No Mercy has more of than producers is special guest collaborators, and this time he exchanges verses with some of the best including Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Eminem, and Christina Aguilera.
While not necessarily revolutionary, T.I. and his tag team partners achieve some definite victories together – even if it’s Eminem that steals the show on “That’s All She Wrote” with some impressive displays of vintage fury. It’s hard to believe the insanely catchy Pharrell collab (“Amazing”) is one of the songs featured on the rapper’s seventh album; the barely masked combination of “Drop it Like It’s Hot” and “Pants on the Ground” is so sophomoric it hurts – and yet, it’s hard to resist singing along with it. The same goes for the practically half-baked “Strip”. Perhaps it’s to T.I.’s credit that he doesn’t seem to have grown or learned that much from his close to ten years of legal troubles. After all, his music career has lasted just as long.
Download: “That’s All She Wrote”, “How Life Changed”
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