Clifford Joseph Harris, better known as “T.I.”, has been on one of the most consistent run Hip-Hop has seen for twenty straight years. Both in and out of the booth. It’s funny that every time mainstream media seems to forget his status as Hip-Hop Royalty, “Tip” drops an album as a reminder. And each album is just a gritty, raw and lyrical as the rest. On Friday, October 16, T.I. dropped his latest album, “The L.I.B.R.A.” and in an era of rappers that makes me miss both 2010’s and 2013’s musical runs, it seemed somewhat long overdue.
After two or three albums, some artists lose that flair. Some don’t hit with the same power that made them rise to stardom. One thing about Harris is that eleven albums in, he has adapted somewhat effortlessly and never lost the hustle that cemented him as a pillar in the game. This L.I.B.R.A. album finds the King in rare form as he shares the stage with a well though out list of featured artists. T.I. took his time showing off how his versatility of storytelling ability that meshes perfectly with his lyrical content. Whether he’s teaming up with Snoop Dogg to let you know that Atlanta Trap and West Coast Flow can blend (Moon Juice), or reminding this new generation how things are done in the streets (Respect the Code), T.I. doesn’t miss on this album.
One thing Harris never fails to mention is how diverse of a portfolio he has. Sixteen movies, a hit Netflix series (Rhythm & Flow), eleven albums, a podcast (expediTIously), fashion, Grammy awards and more. Simply put, he’s done and continues to do it all. Tip is one of the few artists who can say they have successfully dropped music and stayed relevant in multiple decades. And let’s not forget his insane run from 2003-2008; where the rule of thumb was, “if you want a hit, put T.I., T-Pain or Lil Wayne on your song.” Since 2001, Harris has continually raised the stakes and never backed down from any challenge and by doing this, he has left a blueprint of sorts and big shoes to fill for anyone coming out of Atlanta. I would suggest this L.I.B.R.A. album to any fan of hard hitting, lyrical rap music. On my scale, it gets an 8/10. My only knock is how much “We Did It Big” sounds like “No Matter What” from 2008’s Paper Trail. Even still, this is a perfect album to help us closeout the hellacious year of 2020.
For anyone wondering, The “L.I.B.R.A.” means “Legend Is Back Running Atlanta”. And this came off as not only a warning shot, but a reminder that “this still his city long as Tip livin’.”