The L.I.B.R.A Album review
T.I (real name Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.), born a LIBRA in Atlanta, Georgia, returns to the music scene with his 11th studio album, ‘The L.I.B.R.A.’ (The Legend Is Back Running Atlanta). Following his two features on Nasty C’s album (They Don’t and All In), T.I is back with a project of his own, a project that does not seem to have the desires of a chart topper but with a desire to teach and tell the story of a legend.
After twenty-years of a solid discography, being the self-acclaimed ‘King of the South’ and also one of the pioneers of the trap subgenre of hip-hop which originated from Atlanta, along with the likes of Zaytoven and Gucci Mane, the subgenre is widely listened to today. T.I’s naming of his 2003 album ‘Trap Muzik’ was the first time the word ‘Trap’ was utilized and began to gain ground.
The L.I.B.R.A, despite having the trap influences of heavy 808 drums, bass and hi-hats as was expected, it was not limited to trap, T.I is able to utilize a lot of influences from his original hip-hop, R&B, and a number of interludes and narrations to create a full package and tell the story of ‘a Legend’. And as the album art projects, T.I pays due respect and praise to black women for all their strive and effort despite being defamed in society today.
Being able to tell your success story from a very different viewpoint is what inspires, like Ms. Pat put it in ‘The L.I.B.R.A. Introduction’ – “Do you know how hard it is to have the odds stacked against you and flip the scale in your favor”?
The two singles from the album featured two of Atlanta’s hottest Trap artists, Young Thug and Lil Baby in ‘Ring’ and ‘Pardon’ respectively. Still on his trap influences, 21 Savage is featured on the track ‘Thank God’, a slow trap bounce which they use to talk about the hard times they endured till the riches and wealth began pouring in, with a reminder that Faith without work is nothing.
Influences from the likes of John Legend in ‘We Did it Big’, Alec Beretz in ‘Pantone Blue’ and Jeremih in ‘Moon Juice’- which also features one of hip-hop’s icons Snoop Dogg, shows the influence hip-hop and R&B have on each other. T.I features Rick Ross in ‘Respect the Code’, telling us about the codes they live by which ultimately helped them attain success and then the need to respect those codes regardless of what society sells as ‘codes’.
The ‘Air and Water’ interlude featuring Rapsody, the first of the album, speaks about the greatness T.I has projected to those around him, over the course of his career and his life in general despite the issues and scandals labeled on him, he is still an inspiration. The second interlude, ‘Fire and Earth’ which features Ernestine Johnson Morrison, speaks to those not yet inspired by the success achieved by those around them and for those who lost their lives in the struggle.
T.I would not be a legend if his inspiration is not tapped by those closest to him. In the track ‘Family Connect’ which was produced by Messiah (T.I’s first son) – one of two tracks he produced on the album, and features another of his sons, Domani. The track flows like a conversation between father and son. The album is concluded with a very inspiring poem by his daughter on ‘Deyjah’s Conclusion’.
The L.I.B.R.A Album review