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"King" is the fourth album from the Atlanta rapper T.I.. It came out in 2006 once he had managed to gain mainstream attention through his "Urban Legend" record, which featured his well-known tunes such as "U Don't Know Me", "ASAP", and "Bring 'Em Out". With such a strong album just behind him and an array of guests for this one, he managed to top the Billboard Charts in the first week.
1. King Back
This is an amazing start to the album, and the perfect way to begin an album for T.I.. Although "Urban Legend" began in a similar way, you feel as though T.I. is more qualified to identify himself as the 'King of the South', and this great production behind him, you don't want to argue this claim by him. Just Blaze's beat opens it up in a relavent way to suit his status in the South with applause and horns before he shows us why he should remain in this position.
2. Front Back (feat. UGK)
This is one of my favourites tracks by T.I. due to all of the elements which make it work. The foundations of it are that it samples a Dirty South classic jam by UGK called "Front, Back, Side To Side", and features the original artists as they gained mainstream fame with re-written verses.
It is such a big collaboration for the artists, and acts as the biggest one which he as done to date, as previous relaes had him perrorm alongside other lengeds from the Southern Rap scence such as 8Ball & MJG as well as Trick Daddy.
3. What You Know
In the UK, I see this as T.I.'s most well-known hit (whereas this may have come a little earlier in the US. This is because it's the only T.I. track to top the UK Singles charts (unexpected). It's good that such a track should be successful for him as it does round-up what he is about as an artist with DJ Toomp's production behind him rapping in the gritty way which the Southern states are known for.
4. I'm Talkin' To You
This is a hardcore Gnagsta Rap track from T.I. and it sounds to be a diss track, but as no one is directly addressed, you would have to assume that the target here is someone like Lil' Flip, who he had a beef with around this time. The way that he goes baout it with the phrase, "I'm Talkin' To You" means that the person to whom it concerns would understand all of the things which he brings up in this track, and it makes for quite an intimidating display from him..
5. Live In The Sky (feat. Jamie Foxx)
If you go back to 2006, then you will remember that Jamie Foxx had recently come out as an R&B musician after hiding it for around ten years an with "a Kanye collaboration and a solo album behind him, he was someone who everyone wnated to work alongside, and he seems to fit in well with T.I.'s album here.
This is an emotionally-charged track for T.I. and has him rap about his desire to at some point meet with close friends who are currently 'living in the sky'. His execution made it thought-provoking to the listener, epecially if you are able to relate to themes of it yourself.
6. Ride Wit' Me
Unlike Nelly's journey whicc had him pick up girls on his "Country Grammar" release, T.I. leads us as we travel through the mean streets of Bankhead, Atlanta, Georgia. The trip which T.I. takes you on has him uncover an underworld of the Atlanta ghetto, and explains how thing work differently here as the D-Boys (drug dealers) run the place. The Keith Mack productionis quite inviting, and so doesn't put you off as he guides you through terrifying sights.
7. The Breakup (Skit)
8. Why You Wanna
This was an amazing follwo-up to "What You Know" as after that one gained him mainstream attention on a massive scale, you have yet another big tune from him which displays a muh nicer sde to him than before. He raps to a sampled House tune which gives it a light-hearted Summery feel and from here he is able to rap a nice sng for the ladies.
9. Get It
After giving T.I. one of the biggest singles of his career with "Bring 'Em Out", from the labum before this, "Get It" has Swizz Beatz make the most out of his club-suited production to make it adapt to what T.I. is known for. Swizzy hypes you up with air raid sirens and whistles before going into the horns which has become a signature feature of his beats, this start makes it easy for T.I. to just flow about whatever he has on his mind.
10. Top Back
This was the final of the six singles from the album, and was produced by Mannie Fresh. I felt as though the beat is what made this one as this was the main inspiration for for T.I. as he rapped about the ideal production for him to perform on. Te horns from Mannie Fresh are uplifting at the beginning, but he soon leads the tune with bass, and the sharp contrast emphasises the depth on the b-line, whcih T.I. is best at rapping on.
11. I'm Straight (feat. BG and Young Jeezy)
You have New Orleans Baby Gangsta and Atlanta's Young jeezy perfroming with Tip for this track as they all explain how they are "Straight", which I assume to mean as that they are down for whatever needs to be done to show alligeance. However I didn't feel as though Nikc Fury did enough in his smooth production to put this across. As a result, the two rappers (who I didn't like before) performed quite poorly, and there was little to enjoy in it, other than T.I.'s swagger.
12. Undertaker (feat. Young Buck and Young Dro)
This is a dark track which has him rapping on Khao production. To make a change we ave him collaborating with not only the obvious choice in Young Dro, but G-Unit's recently lost member Young Buck. To suit the style of all of the rappers here, T.I. goes for som deep Gangsta Rap which has him grafically describing killings which he is willing to carry out.
13. Stand Up Guy
Khoa changes up what I mainly know him for as he goes for a club tune, and it appears that T.I. copes with this changes effortlessly as him simply alters his regualr tempo to suit the speedier beat from this one. It makes quite a big change for him as a cold Dirty South rapper, but he ddin't sound as if he forced it at all, and he comfortably tackled it for excellent results.
14. You Know Who
This one seems to have marked a change in the album for the better as he tunrs far from the hardcore raps and goes for more club-suited tunes. Although many may not liek this change, as you hear travis Barker played a large role in the production for it, you knwo that it's not going to have him make dramatic switches as Jazzy Pha had him do in earlier albums. The rock infleunce seems to take over this one, but it isn't out of his range in any way.
15. Goodlife (feat. Pharrell and Common)
Since prodcuing the lead singel from his debut album, "I'm Serious" (which is also the name of the single), The Neptunes have cntinued to make the odd beat for T.I., finally Pharrell joins him in a vocal role for this album and also brings Chicago's Common along with him. T.I. gets the chance to celebrate his success as he reflects on where he came from. I thought as though Pharrell singing the chorus was a good addition to the tune, but Common's verse killed it.
16. Hello (feat. Governor)
The producer behind "Why You Wanna", Khao gets another chance to show us what he's about as he opts for another smooth tune for the girls and as the other collaboration between Tip and that producer was so successful, you know that when they go for another slow tune will be just as entertaining.
17. Told You So
For me, I foudn this to be an intersting track when you follwo his lyrics, as this is where all the focus lies for the tune. You can tell this as Keith mack opts for a minimalistic, which allows all of T.I.'s words to be given full attention. In it he explains how he always beleived that the South would prevail in Hip Hop, and mid-way through the 00s, you could say that this actually happened. He claims to have predicted this back in the days where only OutKast were getting exposure, and ten no one else would have expected the East and West Coasts f the US to drop their standard to allow another region to take over as they did.
18. Bankhead (feat. P$C and Young Dro)
Looking on this track now, you have to question whether you beleive everything he claims as his recent beef with D4L's Shawty Lo has uncovered that T.I. doesn't come from Bankhead as he claims, and it is actually Riverdale. Nonetheless, this is a big tune has him rap alongside his closest associates of Pimp $quad Click and Young Dro, all talking about what they get up to when riding through Bankhead.
This is a consistent release from T.I., and as it has some of his most recognizable tunes on it, it's one which I expect to be enjoyed more thna other albums from him. After having listened to each album from him, I wouldn't say that this is the best one from him, but then again, he hasn't really had a drop in quality yet. There is a strong blend of his harder T.I.P. tunes and T.I. tracks too, which make for good levels of variation, and this also means that he constantly surprises you in the album with so many switches, all of whihc he manages to pull off (providing the prodution is strong enough for him to do so).
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 King Back
2 Front Back - TI & UGK
3 What You Know
4 I'm Talkin' To You
5 Live In The Sky - TI & Jamie Foxx
6 Ride Wit' Me
7 Why You Wanna
8 Get It
9 Top Back
10 I'm Straight - TI & BG/Young Jeezy
11 Undertaker - TI & Young Buck/Young Dro
12 Stand Up Guy
13 You Know Who
14 Goodlife - TI & Pharrell/Common
15 Hello - TI & Governor
16 Told You So
17 Bankhead - TI & P$C/Young Dro