It’s been almost 11 years since T.I. broke into mainstream consciousness with his Southern rap opus Trap Muzik. In the meantime, he's racked up a lifetime of well-publicized ups and downs: the establishment of his now wildly successful record label Grand Hustle, a couple federal weapons charges, subsequent jail time, an ongoing career in film acting and production, a reality television series, oh, and a multi-platinum rap career as one of, if not the, most recognizable hip hop hit makers of the past decade.
T.I.'s been through some shit, to say the least, but unlike the other mega-successes of his class - who've neutered themselves with reinvention or quietly bowed from the limelight - his formula's remained largely unchanged over the years. Case in point: his latest track "About the Money" featuring delightfully unhinged and rising Atlanta compatriot Young Thug.
Marked by bubbly organ drones and a slow-rolling 808 beat, "About the Money" has all the instrumental trappings of a mid-2000's T.I. hit with a totally weird patina of 2014 generously slathered atop by Young Thug. His half-sung, bleating goat-like delivery lends a dangerous, haphazard feel to the whole affair, but overstays its welcome lurching over the majority of the track's 4-minute run time. T.I.'s "if it ain't about the money" hook sounds as taunting as it does truthful, but his only verse comes with a 3 and a half minute wait time and a few razor-sharp bars that end way too soon.
T.I.'s ninth full album Paperwork is due out later this year. The album's first single (and menace of a banger) "Turn It" was released earlier this month. No word yet on whether "About the Money" will make the cut for Paperwork. Either way, you can give it a listen below.