Atlanta-based rapper T.I., self-proclaimed king of the south, released his ninth studio album, “Paperwork,” Oct. 21 under Grand Hustle Records and Columbia Records. The album is produced by Pharrell Williams.
“Paperwork” debuted at No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 80,000 copies. The album received generally positive reviews from music critics and received an average score of 70, a favorable review. Although this was T.I.’s lowest first-week sales since his debut album “I’m Serious,” which failed to reach gold status, “Paperwork” is without a doubt another vintage and sharp T.I. album. The album may not be as classic as “Paper Trail” or “King,” however, “Paperwork” should definitely have an enormous shake on hip-hop.
During the summer, T.I. released the first two singles on the album. The first single, “About the Money,” features artist Young Thug, and the second single, “No Mediocre,” features rapper Iggy Azalea. Both songs received a great deal of radio play. “About the Money” made it to No. 10 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs (U.S.). “No Mediocre” made it to No. 8 and also earned a spot on 15 other top 100 charts.
T.I. stayed true to his roots by making another album with an even mixture of slow, romantic songs for listeners and trap, street records. Songs like “Private Show,” “Stay” and “At Ya Own Risk” are great slow tracks for fans. Some of the street records include “Jet Fuel,” “G S***” and “You Can Tell How I Walk.” The album features the politically charged, controversial song “New National Anthem,” which features singer Skylar Grey. In the song, T.I. talks about police brutality, stemming from the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown and the death of Trayvon Martin. Lastly, T.I. recorded a song on the album titled “Light ‘Em Up,” which is dedicated to his friend and label mate Doe B who was killed in 2013.
“Paperwork” is crowded by many featured artists, including Chris Brown, The-Dream, Iggy Azalea, Jeezy, Lil Boosie, Nipsey Hussle, Rick Ross, Skylar Grey, Trae tha Truth, Usher, Watch The Duck, Young Thug, Victoria Monet and Pharrell Williams. Having this many guest on an album may overshadow T.I. and persuade other artists and fans to believe that he has lost a step. Paperwork may struggle to reach gold status. However, the album as a whole has great quality and important messages.