How Much?: T.I.

He may be on another term in jail, but that has stopped T.I. from dropping his new album ‘No Mercy’. The road to release has been a long one with the album, under its original name ‘King’, originally scheduled to come out in August.

T.I. has also gone through a few singles to get to this point, none of which were actual hits. Things looked promising for ‘Got Your Back’ at first, but even with it’s mainstream appeal the song never caught on the Hot 100. ‘Get Back Up’, his collaboration with Chris Brown, as so far peaked at 70 on the Hot 100.

His last album ‘Paper Trail’ helmed 3 top 3 singles, 2 of which Continue reading

‘Castle Walls’ T.I. feat. Christina Aguilera

Rating: A-

After a preview was released a few years ago the T.I./Christina Aguilera collaboration ‘Castle Walls’ can be heard in full as of today. The song, which serves as the next single for ‘No Mercy, finds the two lamenting about the negative side of fame.

As I said earlier this week, both T.I. and Christina need a hit Continue reading

Sneak Peak: T.I. feat. Christina Aguilera

With the release of his album quickly approaching T.I. is keeping the buzz alive giving us a sneak peak of his new single ‘Castle Walls’ featuring pop star Christina Aguilera.

The 30 second sneak peak only features Christina Aguilera singing what I assume to be the chorus. The song was produced by Alex Da Kid, who is quickly becoming the ‘it’ producer in music after the success of ‘Love The Way You Lie’.

T.I. changed a lot with his album ‘Paper Trail’. I honestly feel like all of T.I.’s new collaborations sound the same. ‘Castle Walls’ will probably sound like everything off of ‘Paper Trail’, Continue reading

Remix: ‘Deuces’- Chris Brown feat. Drake, T.I., Kanye West, Fabulous, and Andre 3000 (Poll Included Below)

Rating: B

Its clearly evident that Chris Brown is trying to come back harder than ever before. This remix is going to help him out a lot since R&B radio has been the first to welcome him back to the airwaves. While ‘Yeah x3’ begins to spin on pop stations Chris is aiming to milk the ‘Deuces’ cow for all its worth. The line-up alone on this remix is highly impressive, and one would think that that it would be a mind blowing remix, but it fails to impress.

Each rapper does their own thing, but Drake has the best verse. I was excited to see Andre 3000 on the track because he always delivers, but he missed this one. His voice sounds too distorted and I’m not really favoring his flow on this track. Continue reading

‘Got Your Back’ T.I. feat. Keri Hilson

Rating: B-

After a year of being in Jail and two years since his last album, rapper T.I. is now ready to hit the music scene again with his new album ‘King Uncaged’ on August 17. He released the buzz single ‘I’m Back’ a few weeks ago, which received minor radio-play from the R&B stations. With all of the drama surrounding his social life, the album is highly anticipated and is expected to explore some of the social and personal lesson he has learned the past year. ‘Got Your Back’ is the first official single to be released, featuring songstress Keri Hilson.

T.I was thrust to superstardom after his last album, ‘Paper Trail’, helmed two number 1’s singles on the Billboard Hot 100. ‘Got Your Back’ follows a similar formula that ‘Whatever You Like’ followed back in 2008; sing-along raps with a pop chorus. Jim Jonsin, a frequent collaborator with T.I, produced the song. Normally Jonsin creates great beats (look at ‘Sweet Dreams’ or ‘Lollipop’), but this song almost sounds like a nursery rhyme. The synth lead melody line it too distracting and over powers Keri’s voice. There is nothing that is hip-hop about this beat, which is a shame because the song is showing signs of T.I. selling out.

I really do blame T.I. for turning hip-hop into pop. Even though he claims that he is still a rapper, this song does not prove that. His rapping is more like singing, and with such a weird beat the song just songs catered for Top 40 radio. When looking back at his older music like ‘Bring Em Out’, it’s a shame that such a good rapper turned so commercial. It’s easy for a rapper to be commercial without selling out (i.e. Jay-Z, Kanye West), but T.I. is blatantly making music just to receive a hit, leaving his true rapping talent behind. Keri Hilson is the songs saving grace. She works her voice really well in the song, using her high register for most of the song. I will say that I think they are a good pairing, but the song could have been much better since they have each proven themselves to be quite creative musically.

That being said I am sure the song will be a hit. The songs construction is quite common with a rapper doing the verses and a female singer singing the chorus, so there is no new territory being covered here, but it has always worked. Still, there is no way that the song will hit number 1 on any chart. It’s catchy enough to reach around number 6 or 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, but I would be surprised if it got any higher since is it so unoriginal. I am just disappointed that after all T.I. has gone through he decided to release this as his first musical statement. Hopefully there will be some musical growth on this album, and we wont see ‘Paper Trail’ 2.0.

‘Hello Good Morning’ Dirty Money feat. T.I.

Rating: C

Diddy formed the new group Dirty Money when he announced plans for his album ‘Last Train to Paris’. The group consist of himself, Kalenna Harper, and Dawn Richards of Danity Kane. Previously the group released two singles, ‘Love Comes Down’ and ‘Angels’, both of which failed to do anything on the charts. ‘Hello Good Morning’ is the third attempt to gain some buzz and hopefully a hit single for Diddys album ‘Last Train to Paris’. The song was produced by Danja, who has had a stream of hits these past few years. The beat is honestly the strongest part of the song. The song starts out with an epic string introduction that leads into a drum section to lead into the vocals. The heavy synth lead beat is meant to get you moving, which it does quite well. T.I. again is consistent in delivering a good verse. The problem with the song is that although it has a good dance beat and features a high profile rapper it still fails to deliver. The song was written by Rico Love, who is a great song writer. He has written a number of hits in the past but sadly this is not one. The song gets more annoying as you listen to it because it repeats itself over and over again. Also the flow of the verses is not good, its too choppy and does not flow into a catchy tune. The first time around the verse sounds ok, but the problem is that it repeats three more times during the song. The chorus does not work at all, you don’t finish song the humming it. A good song will leave a lasting impression on its listener, but the impression this song leaves is forgettable. The song has a break down where Diddy raps. Diddy is not that good of a rapper and he continues to say “lets work” and “let go” over and over again in the background. He is too distracting in the song, but thats more of his style. Diddy has been criticized for being too vocal in the background for years, so at this point I think its safe to say that this is his style. The song debuted at 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 after it was preformed on American Idol. It has since fallen. I think the video will cause the song to rise a little bit, but I do not see it surpassing its peak of 34. They need to come harder than this if they want to reach the top. With artist like B.O.B. and Lady Gaga ruling the charts with their creativity and genre bending sounds, Dirty Money needs to step up their game to contend. Their previous single ‘Love Comes Down’ was much better, but for some reason it never charted. All three of the artist are talented and have proved with a previous single that they are capable of much more. Hopefully they will be able to drop a good charting single before ‘Last Train to Paris’ drops.

‘Winner’ Jamie Foxx feat. Justin Timberlake & T.I.

Rating: B

I said that I wouldn’t judge a song because of the artist who sings it and this is going to be pretty hard for me this time around. Personally, I haven’t been to impressed with any of Jamie Foxx’s offerings in this past, but I do enjoy this song. After the success of ‘Blame It’ last year (the song was number 2 on the Billboard Top 100 and was number 1 on the R&B chart for an amazing 14 weeks) Jamie has returned faster than he ever has between two albums. ‘Winner’ is the first single off of Jamie’s new album ‘Body’ which is set to drop on July 20th. Jamie was smart to call on Justin Timberlake and T.I. to help out on the track. Previously the duo has had mass success when they teamed up in the past (Their first collaboration ‘My Love’ was number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2007 and their song ‘Dead and Gone’ was number 2 in 2009). The song was produced by The Y’s, which is a production team that is made up of Justin Timberlake, James Flauntleroy, and Rob Knox (they also produced ‘Dead and Gone’ and the top ten hit ‘Love, Sex, and Magic’ by Ciara). The song has a real epic beat that is lead by a blasting horn line and deep bass. The song sounds similar to a Timbaland beat, but when is that really a bad thing? Justin Timberlake really puts his all into this track. It’s nice to hear him on a new track, because he is really one of the most creative people from our generation of music. His flow is very similar to the feel of his album ‘Futuresex/Lovesounds’. This track easily could have been from there, but in no way does it sound dated. There’s a breakdown half way through the song when T.I. begins his rap. This sections is what adds a more current flare to the song; The beat is completely different than the rest of the song. At a first listen it almost sounds like it doesn’t belong, until the lead piano is added in slowly and the chorus comes blaring in. Lyrically T.I. is great, and sounds more determined than every to take the top spot in rap. Jamie Foxx does a good job in the song. It’s hard to say that he is the lead artist because Justin Timberlakes voice literally overpowers the chorus, but Foxx holds his own on his verse. The song is in a decent register for him, he sounds like he is straining a little, but its not annoying. Jamie has a good voice when he’s in the right octave, so I would like to see him sing a little lower. The only three writers listed on the song are the three performers. Thats pretty impressive because most artist have outside writers collaborating on the song. I love that this is truly a mixture of their minds. The song is catchy and will have you singing “Winner-Winner-Winner” once its over. Overall the song is entertaining and I think it will do a lot on the R&B charts. Whether of not it will hit the top twenty is questionable. The song debuted at number 23 on the Top 100, but has since fallen. With a video coming out, the song may see a rise. This is a good start to Jamie’s album and hopefully he will be able to have a few good singles this time around.

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