“Man after everything we will never be the same
Man I’m tired of tellin’ lies, know you sick of playin’ games…”
History has shown T.I.’s track record is remarkable when faced with adversity.
Reeling from low sales on his debut I’m Serious and the future of his career in question, Tip delivered one of the most important southern Hip-Hop albums in history with Trap Muzik. Fresh out of jail in 2004 spawned Urban Legend. And potentially staring football numbers in the federal penitentiary on weapons charges, T.I. crafted the last arguable classic of his career in 2008 with Paper Trail.
2014 is unlike the previous three instances. Tip’s career isn’t in question. At this point, he’s accomplished more than 90% of artists could dream. His freedom isn’t either, though the nature of his livelihood has been up in smoke for months now.
The Floyd Mayweather dynamic has represented nothing short of an ugly, immature and all-around nasty fracas. Albeit inspired by different scenarios and different characters, Tupac’s claim of sleeping with Faith Evans caused very public rifts in her marriage to The Notorious B.I.G.
Meanwhile, Floyd’s on-again, off-again semi-assertion of romantically linking himself to Tiny has exposed – merited or not – red flags in Tip’s “family hustle.” The words “perfect marriage” fail to exist, an exotic oxymoron if you will. Despite whatever issues happening behind closed doors with his wife, T.I. has always defended her publicly from any and all perceived threats, as any husband would for the woman who provided him his greatest gift: his kids.
“Girl, together or apart
But you be forever in my heart, I swear
And it ain’t fair we end up here, I know it hard
I never love that way again, swear to God
I be breaking down, you be playing hard
She chose to bid it all, watch how you play your cards…”
Every situation differs as do the breaking points of the forces involved. Yet, a lesson holding vary degrees of validity remains this: men handle infidelity often times much harder than women.
Maybe it’s because the belief a man can step out, engage in whatever activity and not develop any sort of emotional attachment. Or maybe it’s the belief if a woman steps out, then she’s already mentally checked out of her crumbling relationship. A man realizing his life’s most stable ecosystem is in jeopardy, in many cases, is a desperate man willing to extend to the ends of the Earth to preserve the sanctity of something he helped erode. Perhaps purely coincidental timing or feeling the sense of comfort in his own home slipping away, T.I.’s “Stay” featuring singer Victoria Monet is beyond applicable for the times.
The previous single, “No Mediocre,” painted itself as an obvious ploy for radio spins. Conversely, the heartfelt tune is a reminder of the emotionally charged, vulnerable, yet eternally defiant Clifford Harris of years and songs past.
Tip’s magnificently conditioned himself on wax as both a southern playboy and family man. Whether the collusion of the two personalities came to a head in his marriage seems both an unfair judgement and foregone conclusion. “Stay” succeeds in emitting the vibe of a somber man recognizing how life once was could soon be just that, “what once was.” Bringing added depth to an already incredibly introspective and ominous tune, Monet’s cryptic hook sticks to the ribs with laser-like precision when paired alongside T.I.’s own vision of relationship mortality.
“I ain’t tripping ’cause you caught me out there
But your reaction to it pushed me further out there…”
Relationships are puzzling. Playas fuck up, too. Often, at that. Sometimes love is enough in eradicating the missteps of the past. And in some instances, just love isn’t worth a down payment on a reconciliation. Regardless, on “Stay,” T.I. is fighting to keep some sense of normalcy in his life, marriage and family.
And it wouldn’t be Tip if he wasn’t fighting. For something.
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T.I. Ft. Victoria Monet – “Stay”
Bonus: Three things that will always sell in this world are sex, drugs and controversy. Maybe Tip and Tiny are on the rocks or maybe all this is to drum up anticipation for Cliff’s Paperwork album. Adding another element into a seemingly already dicey situation, Tiny returns to music with a new song and visual titled, “What The F*ck You Gon’ Do?”
Only King and Major can save this marriage, apparently.