Review Summary: Could be better.
Unless you were hiding in a cave, you would probably know by now T.I. has been sent back to prison AGAIN. However, for most of this year, T.I. was able to record some of his music and whatever he wanted to do. He promised of a record that would be devoid of gun talk, and an album that would be as significant as “All Eyez On Me”. No Mercy is not as significant as any Tupac album, but this album is at least listenable.
In the first half of the album, T.I. becomes somewhat of an inspirational speaker, telling the listeners about his trials and tribulations. On “Welcome to the World”, T.I. talks about how the real world is cruel complemented with Kid Cudi crooning and another rant by Kanye West against haters. Then on the second track, How Life Changed, T.I. talks about his past hustle and struggles and the predicament that is upon the poor black community. Scarface adds a nice verse to the track too. Get Back Up is a solid track, but not impressive. Then Tip goes back to trapping on I Can’t Help It, which is a decent switch up. T.I. and Eminem butt heads on That’s All She Wrote, but it ends on a draw. T.I. tells about the pressure that artists face and the troubles of society and hip hop. Big Picture is a typical T.I. boast talking about how he’s the ***. The first half is solid, but it’s not the best from T.I.
The second half, in contrast, is uneven, T.I. resorts to strip club anthems and swag, which doesn’t yield the best results. Strip, Everything on Me, Poppin Bottles, and Lay Me Down are all dedicated to the life of the club. The productions sound decent, but at some of those moments, T.I. sounds lethargic. Salute is a soulful track, with some basic T.I. rhyming. Amazing is a horrible track, and I wonder if T.I. and Skateboard P made their ears fall off before they made the track. To close this album, Christina Aguilera sings a dreamy yet depressing hook about being behind those castle walls and T.I. talks about people that try to alienate him and he would never back down.
Compared to his past catalogue, this album would probably rank near the bottom. The problem is the second half, which is mediocre and filled with filler. At times T.I. is conflicted by his current state and the fast life of Atlanta, which may be more prevalent as he gets older (He’s 30 years old). The increase of social consciousness and worries is welcomed, but T.I. will need to work on his lyrical game and concepts he presents. Perhaps the recent trip to the penitentiary could help him realize that he is past the golden years of partying and make him more hungry to release some good tunes.