17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
To say that T.I. Vs. T.I.P. was my most anticipated album this year would be an understatement. Of all the emcees currently in the game, T.I. is my personal favorite. Do I think he's the best? No. That'd be ignorant to say that Tip, no matter how great of an artist I think he is, is the best in the game. So, when this album finally became available on Sunday night, I most certainly marked like a muh**** and got it immediately.
Now, honestly, despite how anxiously I awaited this LP, the truth is, I didn't expect T.I. to exceed King. King was an amazing, and honestly, rather surprising album from Tip; the defining moment of his career, imo. To expect T.I. to top that effort would be inane, and expecting him to follow the same formula for a follow-up would be setting yourself up for disappointment. This album is its own entity; and that's really all I wanted from Mr. Harris.
Act I is the intro to this album, and also the T.I.P. segment. Act I, II, and III all sport the same beat, which is a monster onto itself. Just a shame it wasn't used for a full length track. The first full song on the album is the LP's first single, Big Things Poppin'. While Big Things Poppin' felt like an underwhelming single at first, it has grown on me significantly since its release a few months ago. I know a lotta peeps are saying it's a Top Back clone, but I don't see any resemblance other than Tip rhyming over a Mannie beat. Following that is the appropriately titled Raw, in which T.I. claims that as long as he's alive, other emcees are gonna have to settle for second place. The fourth track is the second single from the album, You Know What It Is, featuring Wyclef. Wyclef, imo, has really redeemed himself over the last year, at least on the production end of things. His work on the Ying Yang Twinz album was hot, and made Chemically Imbalanced a lot more tolerable than it would've been. His work on his is also significantly hot, and this is the lesser of his two tracks in quality. It's still a hot single, though, and T.I.'s on top of his hook game here. Da Dopeman should've sported a guest spot from Jeezy, but T.I.P. holds it down on his own. I'm sure a bunch of people'll see this as glamourizing the trap, but T.I. shares the ill of the crack game on this track too. Something a lotta trap-rappers fail to these days. Watch What You Say To Me finds T.I. and Jay-Z on the same track. Something that sounded like a dream come true, and while it is definitely dope, it's a little underwhelming, almost in the same way Black Republicans was on Hip-Hop Is Dead(however, Black Republicans > Watch What You Say To Me). The problem is, the chemistry just isn't there with Jigga and the King. Aside from the lacking chemistry, Khao's beat is dope, Pimp C-inspired guitar fare, and both T.I. and Hov drop some tight verses, if nothing ground-breaking. Hurt is the first beat from Danja, also known as Timbaland's Mini-Me. Danja's beat is dope, and the track features P$C's Alfa Mega and the legendary Busta Rhymes. Busta's verse is spectacular, and probably some of the hottest **** he's spit since signing with Aftermath(even though The Big Bang was dope overall). Alfa Mega has a lotta potential, if not as much as Big Kuntry, who is surprisingly absent from the album(although he's on the bonus track, No Sweat). T.I. mercs the first verse, which he also spit on the recent edition of Rapcity.
Act II is up next, and is the T.I. half of the album. After this is possibly the best track on the entire album, Help Is Coming. The beat from Just Blaze sounds like something straight outta Superman, in a good way. It helps that T.I. makes himself out as some sorta superhero on this track, here to save hip-hop. Does hip-hop need saving? No, not really. But, if anyone in the mainstream right now could save the game, it'd be Clifford. Tip mentions declining album sales and bootlegging, and believes he's the answer to the problem. Clearly, he isn't the answer to bootlegging, since this album will be illegally acquired by millions around the net; but, he most likely is the answer to declining album sales, since this is likely to sell more than any hip-hop album that's been release thus far this year, and probably as much as the top three selling albums this year at this point combined. Up next is the second Wyclef collabo, My Swag. Some people may not be feeling this track, but the Miami Vice vibe is definitely dope to me. T.I. raps about traveling around the world, which does bring up one thing; Tip certainly loves rapping about states and foreign cities. One outta every three Tip tracks since Ride Wit Me seem to include at least three cities name-checked, and while I can see that annoying some people, it doesn't really bother me. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album, and T.I.'s flow is killer over this beat. We Do This is produced by The Runners, and the Mi-A-Yo producers provide Tip with a tight beat. This could easily be the next single, as could most, if not all of the tracks on Act II; however, I'd most likely go with this next, especially given the Runners' track record for hit singles. Show It To Me is next, featuring Nelly; I've never been a huge fan of the St. Louis don, but Nelly drops an impressive verse, featuring his signature energetic flow, as he spits seamlessly over the track. T.I. isn't to be outshined though, and he drops two dope verses of his own. After that is the smooth ladies track, this albums Why You Wanna so to speak, in Don't You Wanna Be High. The Runners produced this track as well, and why not as explosive as We Do This, it's still a nice track, and aimed at the right market. After this is the last track on Act II, the highly anticipated Eminem collabo, Touchdown. Unfortunately, there's two things a bit disappointing about this track; Eminem produced it, and Eminem is clearly outshined by T.I.'s second verse. Still, this track does its job well, and even though Em sounds rather tired, he's still up on the metaphore game.
Act III is short, with only three tracks, but all three are consistently dope. T.I. and T.I.P.'s confrontation on the prelude to Act III is well-played by Tip, and the track following this, Tell 'Em I Said That, has a phenomenal beat from Danja Handz. T.I., or T.I.P., shines brightly over this beat, while he disses a plethora of unnamed rappers, who could be almost anyone in the industry. Respect This Hustle is a track in which T.I. and T.I.P. have a true confrontation in a song, and while that maybe hard to follow for people who weren't paying the utmost attention to detail in this album, for those with a longer attention-span, this is certainly an album highlight. The hook is tight, and T.I.'s verses are definitely dope. The final track features an elegant beat from Grand Hustle in house producer, Keith Mack; and this is one of the best tracks of T.I.'s career, as he gets very personal on this track. For sure, when T.I. is gone(which hopefully isn't for another 50 years or so), he'll certainly be missed in the hip-hop game.
Overall, T.I. Vs. T.I.P. is an album that is consistently dope from start to finish. No, it's not groundbreaking. No, it's not King, and it's not Trap Muzik. But did you really want that? No. This is T.I. most consistent album to date(no filler whatsoever), and while it may not host a track of What You Know proportions, it is a fine piece of ART. Remember, that's what this album is, and although it may take a handful of listens to really start feeling this album, with enough patience, you'll love it in the end. I tip my hat to Tip for such a strong effort, and look forward to the next one.
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I was introduced to TI when I saw the videos for "24s" and "Never Scared". "24s" was the 1st single for his upcoming CD "Trap Muzik" and "Never Scared" was the debut single from Bonecrusher and the song featured Killer Mike and TI. Both tracks were pretty good but since that was my 1st introduction to TI I decided to wait before I made a purchase. I liked his 2nd single "Be Easy" even better than I did "24s" but since I hadn't heard anyone talking about the CD, I still decided to be patient and wait it out. However, when I heard the track "Rubberband Man", which was the 3rd single, I finally made my way out to make the purchase. The track was produced by David Banner and had "hit" written all over it. Once I listened to "Trap Muzik", I was mad at myself for waiting so long to purchase a nice CD. My favorite tracks ended up being "Bezzle" which featured Bun B from UGK and 8Ball & MJG, the title track, "I Still Luv U", "Kingofdasouth", and the 2nd and 3rd single, "Be Easy" and "Rubberband Man". TI also had a track that introduced his split personality TIP on "TI vs TIP". TI wanted to capitalize on the momentum of "Rubberband Man" and his 4th single "Let's Get Away" which was a Jazzephizzleproductshizzle and he quickly came with what I had just found out was his 3rd CD in "Urban Legend". One of my co-workers who followed the Down South rap scene more than I did informed me that TI's debut CD was actually a CD entitled "I'm Serious", which 'til this day I still haven't heard. TI employed Swizz Beatz and created the club jam of the year in "Bring 'Em Out". I wasn't a huge fan of the track, but anytime you were at a party or at a club, people went bananas as soon as this track came on. I actually liked the 2nd single, "You Don't Know Me" better than "Bring 'Em Out". "Urban Legend" was a nice follow up to "Trap Muzik" and my favorite tracks ended up being "Motivation", "What They Do" w/BG, "The Greatest", "ASAP", "Stand Up" with Trick Daddy, Lil Wayne, & Lil Jon, "My Life" w/Daz and "Freak Though" w/Pharrell. TI was also featured on the Hustle & Flow soundtrack on the lead single, "I'm A King (Remix)" which also featured Big Kuntry from P$C and Lil Scrappy. TI also released a CD with P$C in 2005 entitled "25 To Life" but that pretty much was a CD that if you bought it like I did, you just chalk up as a bad purchase and move on. When you purchase CDs sometimes there are CDs that are better served as coasters instead of being in the CD player. Trust me, this was one of them. I appreciate the fact that TI would want to put a CD out with his homies, but other than some moments by Macboney, once you listen to it, that will probably be your 1st and last time listening to this CD.
TI locked down all of 2006 in some people's minds just by dropping the song "What You Know (About That)". DJ Toomp, who was responsible for TI hits such as "24s", "Be Easy", "Bezzle", "U Don't Know Me", and "Motivation" provided TI with a track that was definitely one of the most memorable songs in all of rap music last year. This track was the 1st single to his 4th CD, "King". My favorite tracks ended up being the Just Blaze produced "King Back", a remake to the UGK classic in "Front, Back", "Live In The Sky" w/Jamie Foxx, "I'm Straight" with BG and Young Jeezy, "I'm Talkin' To You" and "Good Life" which was a nice collaboration with Common and Pharrell joining TI. "King" pretty much set up an expectation when it comes to TI CDs as the "self proclaimed" King Of The South is definitely expected to live up to. Some people will actually agree with TI's claim. However, when you're bold enough to make those claims, each and every CD has to back that up.
"TI Vs TIP" was released on July 3, 2007. The 1st single ends up being "Big Things Poppin' (Do It)" and it's produced by Mannie Fresh. I definitely like this track alot more now than I did when I first began to hear the track, but when you compare his 1st single from "King" to this track there is basically no comparison. As a matter of fact, I will even be as bold as saying that "The Greatest" which was Mannie's contribution to "Urban Legend", "Front, Back" w/UGK and "Top Back", which were Mannie's contributions to "King" are better than "Big Things Poppin'". "TI Vs TIP" starts with an intro that covers events that has happened to TI since the release of "King". The rap is definitely off the hook and as one reviewer said you wish the track was an actual song instead of an intro or interlude. The track also reintroduces TIP, which his fans already know from "Trap Muzik". "Raw" is a pretty good track as well, although you will wish that TI would leave the fact alone that he is better than most rappers from the South. TI you have an excellent resume with "Trap Muzik", "Urban Legend", and "King", I already know that you are better than most Southern rappers so you don't have to tell me how "Raw" you are. "You Know What It Is" should have been the 1st single, in my opinion, as Wyclef, Jerry Wonder and company provide TI with a refreshing track that does a better job of reintroducing TI than "Big Things Poppin'" did. "Da Dopeman" isn't one of the better tracks on here. The track is produced by Mannie Fresh and see my definition for the 1st single as Mannie's production doesn't do justice to the songs that he has done with TI in the past. "Watch What You Say To Me" isn't as bad as some people are making it to be, in my opinion. Now I have definitely heard better Jay Z tracks and I have heard better TI tracks but this track is decent and it's something you will want to listen to more than once. You wish that the 2 rappers would have came with a better energy, but the track is still pretty good. "Hurt" features Alfa Mega, who is a new member to Grand Hustle and Busta Rhymes. This track is clearly one of the better tracks on "TI Vs TIP" as Busta Rhymes clearly steals the show, but TI and Alpha Mega also give nice performances. Danja, who works with Timbaland on alot of his production produces the energetic track. Danja also produced "We Takin' Over" which featured DJ Khaled, TI, Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Birdman, Lil Wayne & Akon. The "Act 2" interlude comes up next as once again you will be wishing that the track was a complete song instead of an interlude. The interlude switches the TIP side of the disc over to TI. Although, the "TI vs TIP" theme isn't that interesting to me anymore, you can't take the quality of the rhymes and beat to the interlude away from TI or TIP. Just Blaze shows up with what is my favorite track on this CD, "Help Is Coming". TI clearly delivers a message to anyone thinking hip hop is dead or that rap music is slowly dying. He even goes as far as saying that he is the man that can single handedly save hip hop. I may not agree with that claim, however, you can't take anything away from this track. The concept, beat and lyrics are the best that you will hear on "TI Vs TIP" in my opinion. Things continue to get better on the cocky "My Swag" which is also produced by Wyclef, Jerry Wonder and company. If someone would have told me that Wyclef and company would have been responsible for 2 tight tracks on a TI CD, I would have laughed. However, Wyclef and TI provide a nice hook and TI does a good job of bragging and boasting on this track. However, after hearing 2 nice tracks in "Help Is Coming" and "My Swag", things go downhill with "We Do This", "Show It To Me" w/Nelly, "Don't You Wanna Be High" and "Touchdown" w/Eminem. "Touchdown" surprsied me the most because once I heard that TI and Eminem would be on the same track, I expected a 4 alarm fire. However, in the end it ended up being some sparklers that you can find at a convenience store on the 4th of July. I was extremely disappointed in this track. It sounded as if Eminem listened to Paul Wall's "Get Money, Stay True" 10 times and then called TI and said let's do a track together. TI tries his best to make a contribution, but in my opinion, things just don't work out this time around. After listening to the 1st bad interlude which has TI and TIP cussin' and fussin' at each other, TI or TIP...lol rebounds nicely with "Tell 'Em I Said That". Danja makes another contribution with the production and in the end you just wish TI or TIP would have made more songs such as "Help Is Coming" and this track. It seems that TI knows that he is one of the best rappers in the South and his swag ended up hurting him this time around. "Respect This Hustle" just doesn't work for me. The production is nice but when you compare this track to the best songs on this CD, you wouldn't even put this track in your top 10. "TI Vs TIP" ends out on a nice note with "My Type". You will easily call it "Live In The Sky" Part 2 but it's nice when TI takes a step back from the bragging, boasting and "King" crowning to make a track where he is saying something with some actual meaning behind it.
If you purchased "TI Vs TIP" from Best Buy then you also got 2 bonus tracks with "The Hottest" featuring Macboney from P$C and "Hustlin'" w/Governor. "The Hottest" is produced by Khao, who produced TI's jam for the ladies on "King" with "Why You Wanna". The thing about "The Hottest" is that it's better than any of the tracks from 11-14. Macboney makes a decent contribution and you'll wonder why it was a bonus track in the first place. I'll never forget my introduction to Macboney on a track entitled "Killin' Me" which has TI on the hook, Macboney on the 1st verse and Paul Wall on the 2nd verse. This track was better than anything on the P$C CD that was released in stores with the exception being "I'm A King" of course. Governor adds a nice touch to "Hustlin'" but in the end it just adds a lighter touch to TI's strories about being in the "trap".
In conclusion, TI still is one of the best rappers in the South. "TI Vs TIP" is a CD that is worth checking out and adding to your collection if you liked TI's earlier releases. However, there are some "duds" on here. You will also have yourself wondering why would TI go back in time to bring back an old "Trap Muzik" theme from 2003 with "TI Vs TIP". Some things are better left alone. To anyone that gave this CD 5 stars, I will ask you to listen to tracks 11-14 again and reevaluate what you wrote or thought in your review...lol At the same time, there are some hits on here as well. I am not saying that this is a pathetic release from TI. However, if you are the self appointed "King Of The South", every release needs to reflect that. After last year's "King", "TI Vs TIP" doesn't display that fact as well as "King" did.
James' Top 5
1) Help Is Coming
2) My Type
3) Hurt w/Busta Rhymes & Alfa Mega
4) You Know What It Is
5) Tell 'Em I Said That
My Swag w/Wyclef Jean
Act 2: TI
Act 1: TIP
Watch What You Say To Me w/Jay-Z
The Hottest w/Macboney
Ranking TI's Discography (Excluding "I'm Serious")
1) Trap Muzik
3) Urban Legend
4) TI Vs TIP