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Atlanta rap king holds together a messy album with pure charm

T.I. Paperwork

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper T.I. performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for BET)

Kevin Winter/Getty

For his first album post-“Blurred Lines,” T.I. has brought on that song’s mastermind, Pharrell Williams, as executive producer. Nothing seems off-limits here – an X-rated slow grind alongside Chris Brown, a post-Trayvon political rant with Public Enemy-ish lyrics, and two unlikely Williams concoctions that sound like robo-Vegas Curtis Mayfield. The connecting tissue is the masterful T.I. himself, who, on his ninth album, bows to no man: still rhyming internal bars effortlessly (“Here’s a mental memento/You didn’t know?”), still discussing the rap game and the crack game, still with a flow funkier than most.

In This Article: T.I.

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