|Studio Album by||T.I. (rapper)|
|Released||August 19, 2003|
|Producer(s)||DJ Khaled , Lil Jon|
|Last album||I'm Serious|
|This album||Trap Muzik|
|Next album||Urban Legend|
Trap Muzik is the second studio album by American rapper T.I., released on August 19, 2003 through his newly found record label Grand Hustle Records and Atlantic Records.
Due to the poor sales on T.I.'s debut album, I'm Serious, T.I. asked for a joint venture deal with Arista Records or he be released from his contract; he was subsequently dropped from the label. In 2003, T.I. launched Grand Hustle Records with his longtime business partner Jason Geter and signed a new deal with Atlantic Records.
The album spawned the hit singles "24's", "Be Easy", "Rubber Band Man", and "Let's Get Away". The album featured guest appearances by 8Ball & MJG, Jazze Pha, Bun B and Macboney. Longtime T.I. producer DJ Toomp served as executive producer for the album.
Trap Muzik debuted at number four on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, and sold 109,000 copies in its first week. It also debuted at number two on the U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The Recording Industry Association of America certified the album platinum in December 2003 and it sold over one million copies worldwide.
Upon its release, Trap Muzik received generally favorable reviews from most music critics, who generally regarded it as a major improvement over his debut album, I'm Serious. This included Complex naming the album one of the classic albums of the last decade in 2012.
Due to the poor commercial reception of his debut album I'm Serious, T.I. asked for a joint venture deal with Arista Records or to be released from his contract; he was subsequently dropped from the label. He then formed his own record label, Grand Hustle Records, with his longtime business partner Jason Geter, and began releasing mixtapes with the assistance of one of his DJ's, DJ Drama.
He then resurfaced in the summer of 2003 with fellow Atlanta rapper and former label-mate Bone Crusher's song "Never Scared." T.I. gained album buzz after appearing on Bone Crusher's single "Never Scared." His mixtapes and mainstream exposure from "Never Scared" eventually recaptured major label attention from many major record label's such as Warner Bros. Records, Universal Records, Epic Records, Columbia Records, Def Jam Recordings' southern division Def Jam South and Sean Combs' Bad Boy Records' southern division Bad Boy South as suitors. But he chose to signed a joint venture deal with Atlantic Records that year.
Trap Muzik contains discerning treatment of its subject matter: Drugs, T.I. fills the prescription for reality music: uncovering life stories from the trap, depicting the unrefined essence of street life and, more specifically, unveiling the grim realities of the drug game. "It's called trap music," T.I. explains. "So you know it's gonna be dealing with all aspects of the trap. And if you don't know what the trap is, that's basically where drugs are sold. In this country, the majority of us live in a neighborhood where drugs are sold, whether we like it or not. Whether you in the trap selling dope, whether you in the trap buying dope, whether you in the trap trying to get out - whatever the case may be, I'm trying to deal with all aspects of that lifestyle."
For the uninitiated, "Trap Muzik" is an introduction to an often-glamorized underworld, a musical collage of scenes that play out like excerpts from a TV drama. But to others, it's an all-too-familiar slice of everyday life. "It's informative for people who don't know nothing about that side of life and wonder why somebody they know that live on that side of life act the way they do or do the things they do. So it's informative for them and maybe it can help them deal with these people, help them relate to these people, help them understand, help them to see their point of view a little better. It's also inspiration for people who live that life." From "24's," the album's shoulder-bouncing, head-bobbing first single, to "Be Easy," Trap Muzik finds T.I. at his mischievous best. Checking in on the set are producers DJ Toomp, Sanchez, Carlos and Dada, and Jazze Pha, as well as artists Jagged Edge, 8Ball & MJG, and Bun B of UGK. Heavy on introspection and streetwise enlightenment.
Production for the album would be contributed by DJ Toomp, Benny "Dada" Tillman, Carlos "Los Vegas" Thornton, David Banner, Jazze Pha, Kanye West, Nick Fury, San "Chez" Holmes, and Ryan "LiquidSound" Katz.
Trap Muzik is not only a stroll around the 'hood, but a journey through the mind of T.I. On "T.I. vs. T.I.P.," the rapper challenges himself to a verbal duel. "That's basically me talking to myself, just me getting in my own ear talking about the things I need to do and the things I shouldn't be doing and just some kind of psychological evaluation of myself." And he waxes romantic on "Get Right," which features R&B foursome Jagged Edge although the track does not make the album. "It's me talking to a lady I knew back when I didn't have much," he says. "We knew each other and we always felt like it was an attraction, but she was dealing with somebody who had way more than me, who could do way more for her at the time. But now I'm like, 'What he got that I ain't got besides you right now? So, get right'." Then there's the ghetto anthem, "Be Easy" Says T.I., "That's basically tellin' cats, when you meet me, you ain't gotta be all excited. You ain't got to go out of your way to say the stupidist shit you ever thought of just to say something. Just be easy, holla at me, keep it pimpin'. It's all good." T.I. continues to speak to his listeners on songs like the provocative "Be Better Than Me" "It's basically telling people who might look up to me, 'Don't be like me; be better than me.' Don't listen to my songs 'Dope Boys,' 'Trap Niggas,' and all that shit thinking that's what you got to do to be cool. That's what I did. You got your own thing for you to do." And on "No More Talk," T.I. blasts lame emcees who compromise creativity and substance for commercial acceptance. "That's basically saying I'm tired of niggas talking about what they got and getting on records and basically talking out the side of they neck about nothing, and they ain't rappin worth a damn. Niggas really just compromising the art for the hopes of just selling a record.
On the remarkably vulnerable "I Can't Quit," the second track on his sophomore release, Trap Muzik, T.I. observes "I'm this close to being a star and just this close to quitting." His 2001 debut, I'm Serious, seemed a powerful can't-miss record with a title single featuring an ace turn by Beenie Man. While it didn't wholly miss, the single which should have been pumpin' around the world barely saw a lick of airplay, and while the album sold modestly, it didn't even approach the platinum level lesser talents achieved with ease.
No matter though, T.I.'s back with a vengeance on Trap Muzik, an appealing melange of subtle beats and easy flows which belie the Georgia rapper's vast lyrical intellect. While there are aspects of the Dirty South in T.I.'s style, his world and his style are distinctly his own—incredibly unself-conscious but confident, observational, insightful, rough, and raw. This odd mix is best represented in the starkly honest "Doin' My Job," a cry for tolerance noteworthy for its lack of either cliche or treacle. The following track, the sexually laced banger, "Let's Get Away," could easily descend into a morass of silliness, yet somehow manages to remain organic.
Release and promotionEdit
After his relationship with Arista Records came to an end, T.I. stayed on the grind - writing, recording, and rapping his heart out. Under the name of T.I. and the P$C, he released the underground hit "In Da Streets, Parts 1 and 2" on his own Grand Hustle Records. The album sold a staggering 20,000 units thanks to what T.I.'s manager and Grand Hustle Records partner Jason Geter refers to as "hand-to-hand distribution and a lot of driving around, a lot of legwork."
"24's" was the first official single to be released from Trap Muzik. The single entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 78, it charted at number 27 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and at number 15 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. The single was Produced by DJ Toomp, and the single is noted for beings T.I.'s starting point to a successful career. "Be Easy" was the second official single from the album, the single peaked at number 55 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The single was Produced by DJ Toomp.
"Rubber Band Man" was the third official single from the album. Upon release, it charted reasonably well, peaking at number 30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. It charted at number 15 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and at number 11 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. Containing a sample of 'Go With Me' by Mannie Fresh, Production by David Banner's was noted by music reviewers, particularly the ascending organ riff that has been described as 'hypnotic' and 'pure halftime show'. The song is included in the hits collections Totally Hits 2004, Crunk Hits Volume 1, and Hip Hop Hits Volume 9. T.I. says the song's title is a reference to his habit of wearing rubber bands around his wrist, a habit that dates back to when he was a drug dealer. The rubber bands are used to hold big wads of money together, being as it won't fit into a normal pocket wallet. Publicity efforts for the single were derailed by T.I.'s arrest in August 2003.
"Let's Get Away" was the fourth and final official single from the album. The single entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 35, it charted at number 17 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, at number 10 on the Hot Rap Songs chart, and at number 16 on the Rhythmic Top 40. It was produced by T.I. and Jazze Pha, who appears on hook with a woman, and outro of the song. The song interpolates Aretha Franklin's 1972 song "Day Dreaming".
Trap Muzik achieved commercial success due to its singles' major hit around the United States. For instance, 24's was featured on the video game Need for Speed: Underground. The album debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200 selling 109,000 copies on its first week, and was certified gold. Trap Muzik has sold well over 1.7 million copies since its 2003 release in the United States and was certified as Platinum by The Recording Industry Association of America.
Upon its release, Trap Muzik received generally favorable reviews from most music critics. Most critics saw it as a major improvement over his first album, I'm Serious. According to About.com, Trap Muzik is the best T.I. album to date. It calls Trap Muzik "his most impressive album so far". Andy Kellman of Allmusic said that "Whatever promise T.I. showed on his flawed debut is almost fully realized throughout his excellent 2003 follow-up, Trap Muzik." Kellman also mentioned "Dig beneath that surface, and you'll come to appreciate an MC who uses the art of the metaphor like few others" and "the MC is the real draw from beginning to end", Kellman last adds that "With another record as good as this, T.I. just might become the King of the South that he continually claims to be". In 2010, Rhapsody called it one of the top "coke rap" albums of all time. Entertainment Weekly had this to say about the album "This Atlanta rapper's self-coronation as King of the South is belied by the very ordinariness of his lyrics and flow. Only when T.I. breaks from his static Southern comfort zone does he distinguish himself. Let's Get Away interpolates Aretha for a satisfying slice of G-funk, and the introspective No Mo Talk offers a glimpse of greatness for a would-be king." Rolling Stone gave the album a 3 out of 5 stars saying "[T.I.] is a hustler with a conscience and a heart....[T]he limber linguist is at his best when he's dissecting the minutiae of the game..." Prefix Magazine had this to say about the albums Production "David Banner's lazy organ-laced beat is damn hypnotic on the newer "Rubber Band Man" single and it's in good company with some funk from Kanye on "Doin' My Job" and "Let Me Tell You Something." But DJ Toomp—holy Christ, man. What is it with this guy? Strings, scattered miserable piano keys ... bloody hopeless melodies serving T.I.'s ghetto characterizations well. Sweet beats aside, T.I., the subject at hand, constructs what sounds like a web of gangsta imagery with seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, he offers a drug-game narrative and the unlawful troubles that coincide with it, but the album is his medium to retract his previous troubles with the law and begin anew. Toward the end of Trap Muzik, in "T.I. vs. T.I.P." and "Be Better Than Me," he glorifies nothing. Instead, he reasons with the record-buying youth about being "better than [him]" by making smarter decisions about life. If only our politicians knew this much about contrition."
RapReviews.com noted "Moving to Atlantic Records seems to have breathed new life into T.I.'s young career. He also has good timing in his subject matter. Coincidental or otherwise, his hit single "24's" from the new album "Trap Muzik" comes at what may be the peak of a national trend to glorify bigger and better dubs (rims) on the tires of big cars. While a lot of the songs to date cover the subject well, T.I.'s DJ Toomp produced track has an infectious beat and a good spin (pun intended) on the topic. Drawing strength from the deep and repetitive bassline, T.I. uses his country-fried voice to musically punctuate his flow. While some rappers don't bother to give any inflection or shift in vocal pitch to their words, T.I. seems to come from the E-40 school that the more you throw it, the better the shit gets. As such T.I. doesn't need to rely on hitting punchlines or putting big words in his rhymes, which also gives his rap a natural and totally unforced quality. When he raps over David Banner's track on "Rubber Band Man," the effervescence of the Dirty South bubbles to the top. From the self-titled "Trap Muzik" intro to the "Long Live Da Game" closer, T.I. lives up to the potential he had on "I'm Serious" but was never seriously given a chance to show the world. With a good flow, a pleasntly mellifluous voice, and some of the South's best beats backing him up, this album is perfectly timed for the end of summer. At a party, in your headphones, or booming out the jeep, "Trap Muzik" will show your good taste in Southern rap flavors. If it's not your style, this may be the place for you to get into the groove and see how it moves. Take it from me."
1. "Trap Muzik" (featuring Mac Boney)
2. "I Can't Quit"
3. "Be Easy"
4. "No More Talk"
5. "Doin' My Job"
6. "Let's Get Away" (featuring Jazze Pha)
8. "Rubber Band Man"
9. "Look What I Got"
10. "I Still Luv You"
11. "Let Me Tell You Something"
12. "T.I. vs. T.I.P."
13. "Bezzle" (featuring 8Ball & MJG & Bun B)
15. "Be Better Than Me"
16. "Long Live da Game"
17. "Rubber Band Man" (Remix) (featuring Twista, Trick Daddy & Mack 10) (bonus track)
- "Be Easy" contains a samples of "Somebody To Love" by Al Wilson
- "No More Talk" contains a samples of "Can't Find The Judge" by Gary Wright
- "Doin' My Job" contains a samples of "I'm Just Doin My Job" by Bloodstone
- "Let's Get Away" contains a samples of "Day Dreaming" by Aretha Franklin
- "I Still Luv You" contains a samples of "She Only A Woman" by The O'Jays
- "Let Me Tell You Something" contains a samples of "I Wanna Be Your Man" by Zapp & Roger
- "24's" Released: April 15, 2003
- "Be Easy" Released: October 7, 2003
- "Rubber Band Man" Released: December 30, 2003
- "Let's Get Away" Released: June 29, 2004
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