Saturday, May 06, 2006

CD Review: King by T.I.

In calling his new album King, T.I. has set the bar pretty high. People who usually say such lofty things about themselves either are pretending to be better than they are or they actually have the goods to back up their claims. Fortunately, King proves that T.I. is one of the latter rather than one of the former.

As you listen to King, it's easy to tell that T.I. is confident, comfortable, and at the top of his game. Just Blaze gets things off to a rousing start with his beat for the album opener "King Back." Things just get better from there. It's great to hear Bun B and Pimp C together again as UGK on "Front Back" and T.I. makes sure not to be overshadowed by that dynamic Houston duo. "Why You Wanna" cleverly samples a really bad (but well-known song) and has T.I. trying to woo a girl who is clearly unhappy in her current relationship. T.I. again appeals to the ladies with the club-friendly "Stand Up Guy," a song that's unlike anything he normally does.

However, songs like the blistering "I'm Talkin' To You" remind you what T.I. is known for. Blaring horns punctuate this track as he spouts some choice words for an unnamed person. In a twist that sets this song apart from other "anonymous dis" songs, T.I. also says who the track isn't directed towards. He addresses past beefs (about Ludacris: "Had it out with Chris/ But he still my nigga") and his flow gets faster and more intense throughout the song. It's a standout track on an album with a lot of great tracks and that's saying something.

"Good Life," a song that features The Neptunes' Pharrell Williams and Common, has T.I. reflecting on how good things are for him right now. If this song wasn't on the album, however, the rest of it would give us a good idea that he is in a good place right now because of its quality. From start to finish, King is a consistently good album, one that has great songs come one after another. Continuing a trend I like, there are few skits to be found on the album and the ones that are there (like "The Breakup" which features comedian Mike Epps) are pretty good. If there's one complaint to be made about King, it is that it sounds more like a collection of very good songs than a cohesive album. That's a really minor quibble, though, and in an age where some albums barely have one good song, I'd rather have quality over cohesion.

Overall, King is without a doubt one of the better hip-hop albums released in 2006 and is definitely worth picking up.

No comments:

Post a Comment