T.I.
Paper Trail


3.5
great

Review

by Jared W. Dillon USER (118 Reviews)
October 1st, 2008 | 48 replies | 20,592 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: another T.I. album. another T.I. personality split.

T.I.'s "Paper Trail" is a definite progress from the artist's previous effort. Following up "King" was certainly not an easy task but the amount of mediocrity on "T.I. vs T.I.P." left plenty of fans addressing T.I.'s legitimacy. The descent was logical though. Since, T.I.'s highly acclaimed "Trap Muzik" he had been basically recycling themes and crafting a plethora of material that was only prestigious due to T.I.'s absolutely unique devotion. As T.I. acclaimed himself the "king of the south" he was charged with multiple felonies for possessing various automatic weapons. His sentence has been lessened since the original press craze over the event, but T.I. still has found himself with a year of jail time and one thousand hours of community service. The toll these obstacles have taken on the rapper is obvious throughout "Paper Trail" yet T.I. has also seemed to become conscious of how ridiculous his persona has become and in other words is aware of the nature of his music. In place of extremely heavy singles like "What You Know" and "U Don't Know Me" are singles like the Rihanna fronted "Live Your Life" and a more sophisticated take on Lil' Wayne's "Lollipop" in the form of "Whatever You Like". Not to say that T.I.'s braggadocio and charismatic nature isn't on this record. He is certainly still the rubber band man through and through just now a little more experienced.

"What Up, What's Haapnin'" is a clear highlight. It is one of the records six singles and features production from Jeezy associated Drumma Boy who provides T.I. with a track that doesn't rely on Nintendo sounding synths. "On Top of the World" features follow Atlanta rapper Ludacris who formally feuded with T.I. here though they both recount and relate to how they became who they are. An important theme on this record seems to be coming to an acceptance between two meeting personas and that is where it becomes ironic. "T.I. vs T.I.P" was reportedly T.I.'s discussion between the "thug and business man" that lie within him. That record failed miserably in that light, but now that he has seemingly hidden the T.I.P. side of himself he has helped his lyrical content reach a point of public consciousness that few current rappers have. Jay-Z, Kanye, and Lil' Wayne show up on potential block buster "Swagga Like Us" and further prove how singular T.I. is. As Kanye and Wayne tinker with auto tuning and Hova spits his typical *** T.I. perfectly works the track into defining how the attitudes of these four artists came to be. The beat of the track is typical Kanye West and that does kind of ruin some of the effect such a great collaboration should have. What is most important to note is that T.I. once just another southern rapper proves his declaration of being the king of the south by basically standing with and over three of the biggest names in modern hip-hop. This overwhelming surprise from an artist most people have written off makes the fluidity of the record an even more impressive feat.

"King" may feature more lasting material and "Trap Muzik" may represent how southern the artist can be, but where those two albums succeed "Paper Trail" isn't aiming. This is a record that unabashedly switches from a gospel based repent to an Usher track. Sure, there are a couple of missteps. "Porn Star" seems like an attempt to out Kanye Kanye. "Swing Ya Rag" comes off as yet another southern rap track. T.I. isn't able to escape the flaw of overstuffing his record, but he certainly does a valiant effort in trying to bring an hour and twenty of minutes of solid tracks. "You Ain't Missing Nothing" feels like an afterthought, but when you begin to understand the topic it speaks on (T.I. basically reenacts "One Love") you can't help but not skip the track. "Dead and Gone" yet another Timberlake / T.I. track is bolstered by its impressive Timberland beat and the fact that ends that album on a very, very strong note.

"Paper Trail" exists as T.I's new album. Changing up his themes, updating his beats and extending his style far enough to keep his listeners interested, he still has yet to release an extremely refined classic. Perhaps, "King" and "Trap Muzik" will have to exist as the best examples of T.I. in that they encapsulate his thuggish lyrical nature while exploiting it into a pop environment. "Paper Trail" still deserves to be acclaimed though. T.I. may not be meeting his own standards, but in the term of the southern rap genre this is probably the best addition from this year. More lyrical than Lil' Wayne and catchier than Young Jeezy, T.I. has once again proved the fact that he represents an excellent blend of lyrical talent and pop sensibility.



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user ratings (275)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
Mike Dracon (3.5)
A year after the birth of his alter ego, Southern-born rapper T.I. still knows how to burn the chart...


Comments:Add a Comment 
pixiesfanyo
October 1st 2008



1223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

record is so great.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2008



16071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah this is good. I might up my rating

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

bustyagunz
October 1st 2008



911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review
and yea, i love this, for mainstream rap at least. his rapping still isn't the most complex, nor his issues the most sophisticated, but the "real-ness" of this album is ridic. solid and not over the top beats as well

McP3000
October 1st 2008



3941 Comments


TI is so ridiculous he uses a spoon to eat his spaghetti

DFelon204409
Emeritus
October 1st 2008



3995 Comments


I want to listen in full. Is there a stream up?

bustyagunz
October 1st 2008



911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Myspace should have it, cuz now they are doing that "entire discography" thing
oh yea and he's the big picture on the main music page there

Platonism
October 1st 2008



168 Comments


Wow T.I. a three-five ay? I shall listen to this.

cbmartinez
October 1st 2008



2525 Comments


yeah king is a great record but TIP was such a piece of shit, kinda apprehensive about this one but ill prob pick it up, TI is solid

AndManyMore
October 1st 2008



576 Comments


TI is so rediculous he writes his own lyrics... or something LOLWUT!?

Darkman1
October 1st 2008



48 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dude I think this album deserves more credit
T.I., in my experience, inherited the crown as 'king of south' from Scarface himself (he even got his blessings)

This album is better than King because here he doesn't aim for mainstream (except Liive Your Life)

And being a hip-hop fan who observes underground and mainstream, I can say that his lyrical ability has soared above expectations.

But still i say good review, cauz you managed to highlight the good features about the LP.

Apocalyptic Raids
October 1st 2008



810 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i've heard whatever you like and swagga like us, they're both pretty good. i'll probably check this out soon enough.

the length is off-putting but that's nothing new for t.i.

treos
October 1st 2008



35 Comments


got this off amazon for $3.99. not sure if it's still that cheap but if so, i'd recommend getting it on there unless you physically want the cd

francesfarmer
October 1st 2008



1477 Comments


Shitty ass pop album, but this was a cool review. TI needs that year in jail then he'll get back on track. Fucked up thing to say but his music will thank him for it later.

pixiesfanyo
October 1st 2008



1223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I guess it is a shitty ass pop album. Reminds me of all of T.I.'s recent material though.

Pointro
October 1st 2008



14 Comments


Eh...This was alright. It was much better than T.I. Vs. TIP, but that isn't saying much.

Swagger Like Us is the most underwhelming track ever made.

francesfarmer
October 1st 2008



1477 Comments


Truth, talk about a waste of a beat.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
October 1st 2008



4829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

T.I., in my experience, inherited the crown as 'king of south' from Scarface himself (he even got his blessings)

Anyone on Scarface's record label is supposedly the next "king of the south". See: Green City.

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins®

tommie2handsome
October 1st 2008



1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album is one of the best albums ive heard in a long time. This album is a classic.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
October 1st 2008



4829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nope

P13
October 1st 2008



1327 Comments


Why does each song name have T.I. in front of it?



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