T.I.: Fuck Da City Up
Over the last decade, no Southern rapper has the career of T.I. Sure, Ludacris has moved more units than T.I. but that has come at a price. T.I. managed to balance strong commercial showings with critical praise. Starting with the widely praised King album in 2006 through the double platinum Paper Trail in 2008, T.I. was the best review southern rapper. But after Paper Trail T.I.’s career seemed to come unhinged. He was sentenced to a year in jail on federal weapons charges. Upon leaving prison, T.I. released the strong, re-affirming “I’m Back” single only to be arrested on drug charges. The drug charges seemed to completely change T.I. (even though they were eventually dropped). His album went from being called King Uncaged featuring T.I. sitting on a thrown next to a tiger to being called No Mercy with him wiping a tear away from his. The album was released to little critical fanfare and it was worst commercial performing album since his 2001 debut. What had changed? For starters, all the bravado of “I’m Back” was completely lost. As one critic put it, “simply put, introspection does not work for T.I.”
There have been signs that T.I. might be back on track. Last year, he released a series of singles that seemed to be on the road back to “I’m Back;” the best being “I’m Flexin’.” At the beginning of this year, he releases Fuck Da City Up. The mixtape is a 19-track tour-de-force of single-caliber swagger-dripping Southern rap jams.
The opening track finds T.I. teaming up with fellow Southern rapper, Young Jeezy for the “Fuck Da City Up.” The track feels like that chest-pounding Atlanta anthem that T.I. fans expect from the rap. Perfectly produced by Chuck Deisel, the track features Southern snare rolls, string hits, and plenty of DJ Toomp-esque bass synth.
In case “Fuck Da City Up” does not convince you that T.I. is in top flexing form, the mixtape includes tracks with titles like “Piss’n on Your Ego,” “Stunt’n Like a Fool,” and for good measure, “Harry Potter.” The latter track includes rhyming “whip game proper” with “Harry Potter” just to show you how serious T.I. is.
Fuck Da City Up does go a long way towards erasing the memory of No Mercy but until he puts this same swagger into a major label release, there is something for T.I. to prove. That said, if T.I.’s next release is half as good as Fuck Da City Up then it will be one of his best albums to date.
MP3: T.I. featuring Young Jeezy “Fuck Da City Up”
Mixtape Monday: T.I.: Fuck Da City Up
T.I.: Fuck Da City Up