T.I. Debuts “No Mediocre” Video And Previews Album Snippets At Movie Theater Listening

For some time now T.I. has been teasing fans with little tidbits of information pertaining to his ninth studio album, Paperwork: The Motion Picture. Last night, T.I. finally gave an in-depth look at the project in a celeb-filled private screening at the School Of Visual Arts in NYC.

Lil Duval hosted the event, and T.I. first kicked things off by explaining everything there is to know about his upcoming project, which is slated for September. From his recent switch of labels from Atlantic Records to Columbia Records, working with executive producer Pharrell and the theatrical theme of the album; viewers became privy to little details about the effort that were unknown before.

During the chat with Duval, Tip recounted past events that made him the artist he is today. He told the crowd that when he was just getting started in the game, Pharrell waived fees for studio sessions that T.I. couldn’t afford. He also mentioned how P calling T.I. the Jay Z of the South put pressure on Tip to rise to the occasion. Then, T.I. and Duval, acting like a comedic duo, moved on to former Grand Hustle affiliate Iggy Azalea, where Tip told the story of how they met and how a spark in Iggy’s eye and her confident demeanor let him know that mentoring her would be the right move.

T.I. went on to preview six tracks from Paperwork and said that the “cohesive thing that brings the record together is soul.” Each of the songs have “purpose” and a “sense of music.” He set it off with the previously released “About The Money” featuring Young Thug. Before playing the slow-tempo club banger, T.I. gave a little background on how he connected with Thugger, saying he felt a kinship with him because they hail from the same way of life, so their musical connection was undeniable.

After playing that, T.I. moved on to a self-explanatory track called “I’m A King.” Produced by Mars of 1500 or Nothin’, the track follows the usual T.I. fashion, filled with hard-hitting bars about the lifestyle he maintains. Another song Tip unveiled was the Pharrell-assisted title track. The effort combines his straight-laced style with Skateboard P’s left-field approach of capturing a Curtis Mayfield feel. Later on, he got into “G Shit,” which is set to feature Jeezy, Watch The Duck and more unique production by P. To wrap up his string of snippets, Tip showed the audience the Tommy Brown-produced “New National Anthem” that pays homage to our nation’s historic tune. The track addresses many of the hardships found in impoverished neighborhoods, with a hook that will surely get people talking about it. “Land of the beautiful, home of the shotgun/You ain’t dead if you ain’t got one,” Tip spits.

Tip left us with the video premiere of his upcoming single, “No Mediocre,” featuring Iggy Azalea. He gave us a first look of the video set in Brazil that aims to encourage women to continually present themselves in the upmost manner. All in all, Tip’s screening was quite an event from the intimate movie theater setting to the hilarious banter between the rapper and Lil Duval. With a mix of an animated T.I. and plenty of new sounds, this may just be his best work yet. And with more certainly to be discovered about Paperwork, rap fans can be assured that T.I.’s new album is in good hands.—Miranda J.