Let’s set the mood. The children and the queen are out. When I left them, she was fiddling with the features on the new car, so they’ll be a while. I just launched the site. G-HOLY.com is here! *Applause* My 1st post was some Benny news. It’s Friday, now time for reviews.
As a long-time consumer, connoisseur & Hip-Hop historian I cannot just listen to albums on the fly. Not ones I’ve been anticipating. I’m like an old freak. I’ve done this enough to know how I want it. Doesn’t matter who it’s with.
So I have my favorite Nautica slippers, my house gear, and my JBL bluetooth speaker. This thing has PERFECT sound. It’s somewhere in the middle of the club and the car. My phone is connected. My notes are up. Let’s get it! (Jeezy voice)
[Sidebar: I’m a huge T.I fan. I think his catalog is top notch. All solid. DimeTrap was also SEVERELY underrated. I had it 3rd for that year behind Pusha & Benny respectively, right in front of Nipsey Hussle’s ‘Victory Lap’]
1. The L.I.B.R.A Introduction ft Ms. Pat
Ms. Pat! If you don’t know Ms. Pat, she’s real. She’s Street. She’s hood, and HILARIOUS. The beat is instantly familiar, as it was the outro of the music video for the lead single “Ring” featuring Young Thug. This is already a banger.” I learned how to cook cocaine before I learned how to boil a egg.” Yeah, Ms. Pat is goin off. T.I.P should jump in anytime now. His voice over this beat is perfect. “I was a a mastermind when you was in a high-chair”. This is T.I’s bag. “Spent 100 thousand at my fuckin’ dentist.” Ms. Pat comes back in on the outro saying “you’re the baddest mothafucka in Atlanta.” Going back to the title “The L.I.B.R.A” (The Legend Is Back Running Atlanta). I like how they brought that back. Classic feel.
2. Hit Dogs Holla ft Tokyo Jetz
Weird bop on this one. Not really feeling his voice on this track but I’m getting used to it as I’m typing this. Maybe cause he’s killing it. Hook is kinda quality. His hook swag has been on a trillion since “If It Ain’t About The Money”. Tokyo Jetz is rapping and I can’t tell it’s not Ms. Mulattoâ€¦ or anybody else. This could’ve literally been anybody. No presence. Lotta attitude. Loud. Yeah, anybody. Then it just went off like she killed it. Maybe I’ll hear something dope that she said on the 2nd listen.
3. Ring ft Young Thug
This beat sounds like MetroBoomin. I haven’t checked. It’s thematic as shit though. Their voices are peanut butter and jelly together. Young Thug went CRAZY on his 2nd verse. “I’m just her pimp, I’m not her Dad”. Short and sweet. Banger. Hook is something you just want to say all day. The way they switched the order at the end was dope, too.
4. Pardon ft Lil Baby
Now I heard this last night. Lil Baby lost his mind of his verse. Don’t wanna be redundant but his bounce on this hook is ridiculous. TIP might have to start writing for more people, or doing more hooks. Once again though, I don’t feel like I can hear TIP the way I’m supposed to on this. His voice is kinda drowned out and his verse isn’t the tightest I’ve heard. Worst verse so far. The beat itself is fire though. They need to give this to Dipset for the reunion after the reunion before the next reunion album. T.I can do these type of beats. He just have to have that “Bring Em Out” delivery and not the “Swagger Like Us” one. “How you make the gun go on safety? It don’t”. Smh. Lil Baby, man. I like that TIP came with a 3rd verse to end it off. He sounds way better. They dropped that violin out for the most part, so I can hear him better. The last verse made me forget I didn’t like the 1st one so much.
5. On The Hood ft 42 Dugg, Mozzy
T.I starts it off sounding beautiful on the pre-verse. Old-school flow sounds good on this “Posse On Broadway” feel beat. The best part of this song so far is is when T.I.P just let’s the sample play in-between the lyrics. The sample is the star here. 42 Dugg is Detroit, Detroit. His voice is straight the D. Pause. Don’t remember word he said though. Mozzy comes on sounding purposely off-beat. I like every Mozzy verse I’ve ever heard more than this one… every one. Ms. Pat is back. She’s telling us how someone shot her nipple off, again. It didn’t happen again. She’s just telling us again. If you follow Ms. Pat, you know this story.
6. Moon Juice ft Jeremih, Snoop Dogg
Classic west coast feel. Jeremih sounds R&B Pop, as usual. Same beat or sample as that Eastsidaz song we all like. The breakdown at the end of T.I’s verse is beyond dope. Snoop sounds like it’s 98 and 2003 simultaneously. Definitely the standout. This is passable. Nothing special AT ALL. I don’t know why artists like these Jeremih led songs produced by Hitmaka (I’m assuming). No. I like some, too. They’re just hit or miss. This was neither. Not a homerun. Not a foul ball, just a strike.
7. Air & Water Interlude w/ Rapsody
This is dope and weird. Not the track, but the concept. Rapsody is explaining to us why T.I is needed for the world to not fall out of alignment. The beat came in. It sounds like, with the nature sounds, that she’s screaming this from a forest to my speaker. It’s a poem. This is super cool though. She’s goin in about T.I.P. Ends with her affirming that T.I, is indeed the king. An understanding most of us has had since 2003, but… can’t hurt to reiterate.
8. Hypno ft Rahky
The Biggie Hypnotise beat, only minimized. I don’t know how to feel about this. It’s not bad. It’s just awkward. It’s like they made “Hypnotise” a trap beat n left all the other elements that made it a hit record. Weakest hook on the tap so far, and Rahky just helps with part of the hook. In structure, the chorus is like the Bonnie & Clyde version of “Ring”, and yes, It’s a woman. I know. I wasn’t sure either. I wanna listen again… but I don’t. At 2 min log, they knew what this was.
9. 1/2 Ticket ft London Jae, Conway The Machine
Sounds like a “Young Thug Type Beat” on Youtube. London Jae sounds like everybody who does these type of hooks. Conway is REFRESHING on this. He sounds like he belongs more than the other two, somewhat surprisingly. He didn’t go off off, but he did his thing for sure. T.I came with another verse. I like that he’s doing that one some of these features. That’s a lost art in Hip-Hop. U warm nigga up, let him get the 2nd verse n smash em on the 3rd. That shit is like stepping on somebody’s foot in a slapbox. Old-School and effective.
10. Respect The Code ft Rick Ross
Wowww…this beat is rider music! You gotta be doing 75mph on a long stretch to appreciate this. “Full-time family man, part-time politic/Trap nigga, fashion icon, I’m all of it”. This verse is SUPER Solid. I’ll probably put this on some chill playlist. When Rick Ross comes on, it sounds like his song. Not because he’s bodying it more T.I but he’s at home on these type of instrumentals. The hook is great for the type of song it was. Some no name singer saying “Respect The Code” in a very indistinguishable, generic way. Still unsure of what “the code” is though.
Put Some On It
Some people say T.I. adapts well to the times. Other people say he features younger artists for relevancy. More people say this is just him and he hasn’t changed. Whatever the case, this is the 1st time I can genuinely hear him attempting a style. Like, a legit attempt. He’s trying to sound like the younger acts. Not only the flow & bounce, but the attitude. The way he’s going about it. He even mentions that he’s “still young” early in the song. Let’s be clear. He’s talking his SHIT! It’s that big dog perspective he, Pusha T, Jay Z, and Drake take often. This production… I like elements, but overall, nah. Not for TIP. Awww man, Ms. Pat is back. She’s comparing T.I’s neck to her ass. Bro… Im out. This lady.
12. Family Connect ft Domani
A track with his son…let’s see. Definitely some Lion King shit goin on in the beginning. I guess this is some torch passing ceremony. When the beat drops, it’s kinda boom bap. It’ll throw you off. Totally unexpected. Great to hear, nonetheless. Domani is comfortable. He’s more comfortable than me, and I’m in my house, chillin. This beat is made for him. “It’s platinum in my watch, should I still care ’bout going gold?”. I think he woke T.I. up. TIP sounds more focused than he has this whole album. He came for blood. He is not about to get shown up by his son. Picture that. This may be my favorite track so far. It just sounds natural & organic. They are going back and forth, sharing a story. The story of Domani becoming a man and T.I. having an influence and giving him game. We’ve never seen this in Hip-Hop. It’s like Jay and Bleek on Reasonable Doubt, but even more personal. The chemistry is undeniable. I’d listen to an album of this. “No matter who you’re son of, nigga, you a one of one”.
13. Make Amends ft Jadakiss, Benny The Butcher
This albums production just got better. TIP doin him. Few quotables. I don’t know how it’ll hold up to Jada and Benny. This’ll be interesting. Kiss voice sounds the least raspy I’ve ever heard. He spit exactly what I thought he would. He didn’t outshine TIP, though. Here go Benny… nah. They were evenly matched. I’d give the edge to Benny cause he sounded the most in pocket and his last line was “ran up 6 figures like a set of stairs” so… Yeah. Hook is blah, plus. That’s blah with salt n pepper. No ketchup. The background vocals by homegrown is fire though.
14. Fire & Earth Interlude with Ernestine Johnson Morrison
1st off, what kinda name is that? She sounds good. Another poem. She’s tearing a hole in female rapper’s asses though. She’s literally going in on them and SOMEHOW brought transitioned from W.A.P to Breonna Taylor, seamlessly… better than I thought it’d be.
15. Pantone Blue ft Alec Beretz
More along the lines of the new T.I brand. From the Rubberband Man to a devout activist. Coronavirus is a common theme throughout this song. Not in a corny way. Just a reminder of our mortality. This white singer dude is aight. Sounds like a whole nother song when he’s singing vs when T.I is rapping. That’s also because of the production going flat when he sings.
Somebody just told me Black Women are queens. That’s always cool. Weird sounds in this one. Like, when Kanye tries to do too much, but better. The production is dope and confusing. You just have to hear it. TIP is getting real. He is giving out tons of game on this. If Q-Tip made a comeback single, I think it’d sound like this.
17. How I Feel ft Eric Bellinger, Kellier Mike
Even more political than the last 2 songs. Cop killings is the topic. Fighting back, to be particular. TI set it off. Mike’s flow and vocal patterns are off-the-hook. They trade bars on the last verse a bit. This fits who they both have come to be known as. Hook is just there. It’ll do. I’d pass it with a D, if I was the teacher. “The art of not fighting back was given to us by Christianity” WHEW! We’ll see how this goes over. They’re mad over smooth production. Contrast.
18. We Did It Big ft John Legend
Underrated story-teller. This story is so vivid. A childhood friend, Philant, who’s gone. John brings it back. His voice coming off of TIP’s verse is emotion invoking. Especially knowing the way he passed. Long Live BIG PHIL… OH SHIT… We just found out who passed on Drake. Remember Meek told that story during their beef? Yeah, apparently it was T.I’s friend Cap, in L.A. This song is great. If you have ever lost anybody, you’ll be touched. It’s somber, yet celebratory. T.I went full out Nas and Biggie on the storytelling. Even more vivid.
19. Thank God ft 21 Savage
Why is the album this good 19 tracks in? He could’ve cut a few and pushed these songs up in the tracklist. I like when he sounds like he’s not trying. That’s the best T.I. 21 Savage is one-liner king.Nipsey would’ve went OFF on this. See? Hitmaka does make dope joints half the time. TIP lists a bunch of rapper’s who’ve passed in his last verse. That was dope. This is the definition of an album cut. I love this… and here comes Ms. Pat. Tying the loose ends of the album up with a final monologue. I laughed even though I wasn’t in the mood to, given the song I’d just heard when she came in.
20. Dehjay’s Conclusion
Beautiful wrap-up speaking on how black people are blessed to be black. Black is Black. Love is Love. Also, telling us she’d rather preach this than air out family business like some people would have wanted. The production on these interludes is so trailer-ish and bright. This is a great way to end the album. Yeah, TIP.
T.I. The L.I.B.R.A Available NOW on ALL DSP’s.