“WE ARE A PRODUCT OF THE ENVIRONMENT YOU PLACED US IN… WE AIN’T DO IT… WE JUST LIVED THROUGH IT”
Credible rappers rap about things they’ve actually experienced. T.I. is no exception with Paperwork: The Motion Picture, his ninth album, where he confesses his testimony in a lyrical and appealing manner that displays both his unwavering masculinity and subtle sensitivity.
Executive producer Pharrell Williams helped orchestrate most of this memoir with tracks like “Paperwork” and “Light Em Up.” These tracks showcase that Tip has mastered the art of storytelling from start to finish, basically bringing his audience into the process of his personal come up story through visually inclined tactics.
Content wise, T.I. lives in a premeditated frenzy of paranoia and anticipation, making it known that respect means everything to him. He’s an “any means necessary” kind of guy, often times breaking out in monologues throughout this project to reiterate what the song already said beforehand… just to make sure. He’s a fast talker; it’s the southern in him. He’s also the self-proclaimed King; it’s the character building. The goal, it seems, is to intellectually stimulate as well as entertain, which he does on the much needed public service announcement “New National Anthem” and club banger “About The Money.”
The irony of “No Mediocre” and its mediocracy only takes away a small portion of the overall quality of the album. T.I.’s flow is wavy, especially on “On Doe, On Phil.” Even when accompanied by artists like Usher, Lil Boosie, or even the demure voice of his wife on “Sugar Cane,” he still maintains that hard dominance that his fans can ride to.
T.I. is one of the few gangsta rappers who has managed to reach mass success in both underground and mainstream lanes, all the while maintaining his street aura. It’s inspiring, really, and he lets it be known straight out the gate on opening track “King” how he continues to remain relevant: blatant honesty and enough self-assurance to pass around to us all. This album is really like a movie.
Standout Tracks: “I Don’t Know” & “About My Issue”
Have you noticed any lyrical growth in T.I.’s music? Was it hard to understand his terminology? Is T.I. still the King? Throw down and de-thrown in the comments below.
*This review of Paperwork: The Motion Picture is based on the 18-track Deluxe Edition.
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