There’s somewhere out there who’s thinking, “You know what I could really go for? Three T.I. albums, in a 12-month period. And a movie to top it off!”
You’re in luck, friend! In what would appear to be an attempt to grab headlines and get people talking, Tip announced some pretty big plans for the next year in a radio interview with Atlanta V-103’s Big Tigger:
“At first [Paperwork, the single album that the trilogy grew from] was gonna be 20 songs, ’cause I had broke it up into like 7 songs for each of those sections. “Now each one of those sections will be a separate album. Maybe like 13 [tracks on each album]. We’ve got a Hustle Gang project also coming…. 3 albums in 12 months, and a movie to finalize it. In 12 months the film should be shot, and we should be presenting it.”
Based on some of his older projects that I grew up on (Trap Muzik, Urban Legend and King), I’ll forever be a Tip supporter. He might be on my personal Rap Mt. Rushmore, depending on what day you ask me. I still find time to listen to his back catalog once every couple of months.
But I can’t support this.
Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head was decent enough – a notch or two below 2008’s Paper Trail (which was very good in its own right, but still several notches below T.I.’s trinity), a marked improvement over No Mercy. It had a couple of memorable songs that still deserve rotation, but doesn’t inspire one of those, “oh sh*t, I’m going to spend the next 40 minutes listening to [insert classic album]. I might even tweet about it!” moments.
And the next logical step his career is releasing his product in bulk? Unlike up-and-comers, Tip has the luxury of not needing to constantly remind people of his presence. And if we’re being honest, there has yet to be a perfect T.I. album. A lot of them came close, but it’s not like he has an undisputed classic under his belt. Even at his best, there’s usually a bit of filler to sift through.
Who wouldn’t, instead, vote for an album consisting of the absolute highlights of the Paperwork sessions? There’s obviously a lot of material on the cutting room table, but shouldn’t part of being a great rapper – not merely a good one – be a dedication to the craft of building a complete, logical album?
I’m Serious released in 2001, and we still haven’t heard a classic. Please, just focus on quality over quantity. You have that luxury.