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ALBUM REVIEW

T.I. aims to rule in the rap world

April 01, 2006|Soren Baker

T.I.

"King."

(Atlantic)

***

With a swagger noteworthy even in the chest-thumping rap world, this talented Atlanta artist has become one of the genre's biggest figures. Unlike crunk, the energetic music Atlanta rap is best known for, T.I. has earned a rabid following with gritty tales of trying to survive as a drug dealer and overall street hustler.

His strong fourth album, released Tuesday in loose conjunction with his motion picture debut in "ATL," (which opened Friday), should go a long way to solidifying his status as an entertainment force. The lead single, "What You Know," and the equally brash "Told You So" are defiant taunts to his competition and doubters.

T.I. shows he's also capable of handling heavy subject matter. "Live in the Sky" features Jamie Foxx singing the gentle chorus and focuses on sticking by and honoring your friends, while "Goodlife" with Pharrell and Common showcases the rappers in moments of reflection and appreciation for their good fortune. Those doses of humility help explain why T.I. gets exalted as a ruler in the rap world.

-- Soren Baker

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