Monday, December 6, 2010


T.I.’s “No Mercy” was one of my most anticipated albums of the fourth quarter. There are a lot of artists flooding the market with albums and mixtapes, but T.I. stands out because he is one of the most lyrical emcees in the game and he doesn’t disappoint with the album “No Mercy”. I was a bit surprised to see so many guest artists (13 with an album of just 14 tracks), but T.I. pulled it off without getting lost in the shuffle of all the names. Even with all of the singles released ahead (starting back in March) of the actual album release date, there has been a strange hush on the release. T.I. is easily one of the best emcees of the decade so I’m surprised by the lack of buzz. Regardless, the album is dope from top to bottom; except for the DJ Toomp produced “Big Picture”. The production isn’t all that and the hook is horrible. The entire song just has a ‘gimmick’ flavor.

“I Can’t Help It” is one of my top picks with the way T.I. wheels his lyrical cadence in step with the production. T.I. goes off with his wordplay and that is why I respect him as an artist. He deserves a lot more credit for his creative cadence and rhyme patterns. Teaming up with Eminem on “That’s All She Wrote” combines two of the most lyrical emcees of the decade and is an instant classic for pure Hip-Hop heads. I can’t front though, T.I. came with it but the commanding voice and vocal inflections from Eminiem really stand out on a track that I would have ignored if the production hit my inbox. The production itself is simple and repetitive, but with Em and T.I. you could get away with a simple 4x4 beat.

I was hooked on “Salute” within the first 4 bars, thanks to the boom-bap flavor and the crisp snap of the snare – a signature Jake One production sound. Then it just gets better with the Neptunes-produced “Amazing” featuring Pharrell. Danja’s run with the horns had me right away with his production on “Everything On Me”. As if T.I. didn’t already have an All-Star cast of collaborations, Drake makes an appearance on “Poppin Bottles” which is surely going to get a lot more spins now that the album is actually released to the public. “Lay Me Down” is built on the classic beat from the 80’s hit “Clear” from Cybotron. Any B-Boy should recognize it immediately since this song always pops up in B-Boy exhibitions and battles. That shit is still dope today, but even better when it’s screwed down to the BPM of “Lay Me Down”. I expected something corny when I saw Christina Aguilera was featured on “Castle Walls” but the song is actually kind of fly. Fourteen tracks total and only one that I hated. When you consider that T.I. wrote most of this album back in April of 2009 the album “No Mercy” is even more impressive, especially considering all that he has been through between now and then.

1. "Welcome to the World" ft Kanye West & Kid Cudi (produced by Kanye West, No I.D., Jeff Bhasker)
2. "How Life Changed" ft Mitchelle’l & Scarface (produced by Lil' C)
3. "Get Back Up" ft Chris Brown (produced by The Neptunes)
4. "I Can't Help It" ft Rocko (produced by 1500 or Nothin' of Smash Factory)
5. "That's All She Wrote" ft Eminem (produced by Dr. Luke, Max Martin)
6. "No Mercy" ft The-Dream (produced by The-Dream, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart)
7. "Big Picture" (produced by DJ Toomp)
8. "Strip" ft Young Dro & Trey Songz (produced by Lil' C)
9. "Salute" (produced by Jake One, Boi-1da)
10. "Amazing" ft Pharrell (produced by The Neptunes)
11. "Everything on Me" (produced by Danja)
12. "Poppin Bottles" ft Drake (produced by T-Minus, Boi-1da)
13. "Lay Me Down" ft Rico Love (produced by Jim Jonsin)
14. "Castle Walls" ft Christina Aguilera (produced by Alex da Kid)

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