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News / Music & Nightlife

T.I. gets back to 'Paperwork' on new album

The Paperwork album
James Minchin

The introduction of of T.I.'s ninth album asserts that he is once again seated upon the throne with a track titled "King". Clifford Harris, a.k.a. the Trouble Man, a.k.a. Rubber Band Man, has an impressive catalogue leading up to Paperwork. From the album title, it seems T.I. is trying to summon the feeling of Paper Trail. Unfortunately, it does not measure up to that 2008 effort.

In the years since Paper Trail, T.I. has twice been incarcerated, but one could hardly tell, as he never missed a beat flawlessly flowing over songs on No Mercy (2010) and Trouble Man (2012). His Atlanta accent is accentuated more this go round, as he returns to his roots and gets a bit personal. In the title track featuring Pharrell, T.I. raps over an ol' school, feel-good cut in which he reminisces about his humble beginnings. In "On Doe, On Phil," T.I. and Grand Hustle label-mate Trae the Truth pay homage to the ones near and dear to him that have passed.

Elsewhere, it is hit or miss over the 15 songs, as he gathers R&B heavy-hitters Chris Brown and Usher on "Private Show" and "At Ya Own Risk," and throws in radio singles "About the Money" featuring Young Thug and "No Mediocre" with Iggy Azalea, who has been heavily affiliated with Grand Hustle in her rise.    

Still, the album, executive produced by Pharrell, has a good sonic sound. Each song transitions into the other as seamlessly as movie scenes, more successfully than his cinematic last record, making it another must have for T.I. fans.—Jordan Berry

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