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.