This release shoes some great skills from everyone involved, but it is missing something to make it a stand out project. While everyone does everything right, the tracks don’t blend together to make a truly cohesive listen.
The production is great. The Heatmakerz continue to make great beats which do fit the atmosphere for the song, but not perfectly. While all the backings are enjoyable and with some interesting samples, for such a short project by today’s standards, it feels too unfocused for a full listen through.
The lyricism is incredible with both Joell and Fred continuing to put forth clever lines and hard hitting bars to great effect. While Ortiz sounds the more comfortable of the two, both don’t miss a step. Hopefully Fred and Joell will continue to push each other to new heights, either on their solo work or on more joint projects.
The features are good, but not totally necessary. This is quite a short project and with two rappers already headlining, the addition of more voices could take from their own performance. That being said, the guests showcase their own skills and show why they are to be remembered.
Overall, individual performances make the songs great, but the release falls a little flat overall. The backings need to be a little more gritty and in your face in order to exacerbate the performances and take it to the next level.
This is an amazingly complete release that somehow doesn’t quite gel together as smoothly as it feels it should. T.I. explores a lot of different things in this album, from how he cultivated the trap sub-genre to how his mistakes have led to a lot of problems in his personal life, that together create a complete picture of the man we know.
The production is great and does compliment the message on each song. Individually, the beats all work, but when you put them together as a full album listen to, they can come across as a bit choppy and it can make listening through the whole thing a small challenge. On the other hand, a lot of listeners will simply pick out their favorites, as is the current trend, so this is not a huge disadvantage.
The lyricism is good, with a lot of uptempo rhyming to help keep energy levels up. However, when on an emotional track, T.I. bears his soul to show his side of the story and show that he knows he is a human being and that he makes mistakes. However you slice it, his performance here is phenomenal.
The features do a great job of accentuating the song they are on as well as showing their own talent. There is a real combination of tough street efforts on top of softer singers to add an extra dimension to the project. The guest selection is excellent and are only additions to this album.
Overall, this is a strong album with a lot of strong performances. T.I. continues to be a staple in hip hop and will continue to be, while hopefully having less drama.