Album Review: T.I. "Paperwork" – 5 out of 5 stars
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:34:03
Hip-hop is all about storytelling at the end of the day. Now, few can weave a tale like T.I. can. That's what makes Paperwork so powerful. His storytelling takes center stage, painting a vivid picture song after song. It weaves together like a timeless flick, and you won't be able to take your eyes (or ears) off of it.
Paperwork starts rolling on "King". Straight out of the gate, his airtight wordplay transfixes as he goes hard over a soulful sonic backdrop. Pushing through each bar with unmitigated passion and intensity, it's instantly clear that T.I. is not messing around. He lives up to that "King" title on "G Shit", trading lines with Jeezy and Watch The Duck and making a straight "gangsta" anthem of epic proportions. The singles "About the Money" featuring Young Thug and the unshakable "No Mediocre" with Iggy Azalea fit into the album framework seamlessly enhancing the overall story and expanding its myth and mirth. One standout "New National Anthem" sees T.I. and Skylar Grey examine the real state of the union with an unfiltered perspective on guns.
Pharrell matches T.I.'s energy on "Paperwork", making for one of the former's hardest cuts in ages. Meanwhile, "About My Issue" benefits from a little Los Angeles swag courtesy of Nipsey Hussle as well as a soulful cameo from Victoria Monet. "Light 'Em Up (RIP Doe B)" is a heartfelt and touching tribute to Grand Hustle's fallen soldier, and "Let Your Heart Go (Break My Soul)" reaches heavenly heights on the back of T.I.'s spitting and The-Dream's crooning.
Each moment functions as part of a larger whole. Paperwork remains as consistent and cohesive as it is catchy. T.I. tells us his masterpiece to date here. This isn't just his best album, but it's one of the year's most memorable and important releases.
It's a classic story.
What's your favorite T.I. song?
At iTunes, you can hear Paperwork in it's entirety, now, in advance of it's release via iTunes Radio, as well as pre-order!
See our feature on Paperwork here!
See our interview with Doe B from last year here!