Is T.I. One Of The Greatests Yet?

I wasn’t expecting much from “No Matter What,” T.I.‘s first release off The Paper Trail, but I must say, the track is fire!

Taking into account what dude just went through with the federal weapons charges and all, I doubt he could have came back with a better song. From the beat to the flow and introspective lyrics, it just fits. There’s one particular passage that catches my attention everytime I listen to it.

Spoke my mind and didn’t stutter one time/Ali said even the greatest gotta suffer sometimes/so I huff and puff, grind/lyrics so sick with it/set the standard in Atlanta how to get, get, get it!

Hmmmmm! I never though of T.I. as being an all-time great before. Being from the east coast, I never understood the impact artists from other regions, especially the south, had until I traveled. Shoot! I never paid attention to Lil’ Wayne until “Go DJ.” I went to New Orleans last month and people went nuts when they played some song I never heard off The Block Is Hot. When some of these southern dudes are praised, I have a tendency to write them off. I doubt I can do that with T.I., though.

Is he one of the greatest yet? My initial reaction is helllll no! He’s not greater than Nas, Jay-Z, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Scarface, KRS-One, Andre 3000, LL Cool J, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Chuck D, Redman, Common, Ice Cube, Kool G. Rap, Q-Tip/A Tribe Called Quest, Posdunous/De La Soul,Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G, Big Pun or Big L. I’m sure I forgot a few, but you get the point.

But let’s be fair for a minute. Using standards of greatness, (body of work, consistency, mic skills, impact, influence and longevity) let’s put T.I. to the test.

Body Of Work: T.I.P. has five albums. I’m Serious, Trap Muzik, Urban Legend, King and T.I. Vs. T.I.P. All but one went platinum.

Consistency: T.I. is usually a four-star rapper. Last year’s T.I. Vs. T.I.P. received a bit more boos than his previous efforts, but it was no dud.

Mic Skills: Pretty straight forward. No too many double entendres here, but dude is solid. One of the best in the business when it comes to flows. Good live performer as well.

Impact/Influence: The dope boy/trapper count definitely swelled up after Trap Muzik. But T.I.P’s DNA reaches beyound “dope” rap. Ask Bow Wow.

Longevity: T.I. has been out for seven years. That’s pale in comparison to LL Cool J, but still enough to make the ballot.

Look! We disagree on a lot of things. But I doubt any of you would dispute that the 21 aforementioned emcees aren’t amongst the greatest. While he may not match their impact,T.I.’s resume is interestingly similar to a few of those legends. Tribe released 5 albums in seven years (before the break up) and Eminem (before the break) and Pac (before his death) dropped four LPs in five years. There’s one thing T.I.P. is missing, tough. A certified classic. Still, he’s definitely left his mark. I still haven’t said it out loud, but dude has a case. If not now, we’ll have to start mentioning dude amongst the greatest by the time we’ve digested The Paper Trail. What do you guys think? Speak on it.

  • Be a Nigger Too

    Nigga you late. T.I. been a beast. And this is coming from a hardcore East Coast rap fan. I don’t really like many southern rappers, but T.I. is hot. Without him, Luda, Scarface, Bun B, Outkast, Goodie Mob & Little brother the South would be trash.

    • daz_oc

      Dude you is stupid….how the fuck u gonna say that all them cats from the South would be trash without him?!?!?!?! last time I checked they all came out before or about the same time as Tip. You are definately a dumb fuck. 3000 waaaaay better than TI so is Bun B

    • loudog074

      BUN B, 8BALL&MJG, BUSTA,TI, YES. THESE EMCEES ARE MEETING THE STANDARD OF GREATNESS.

  • bigt

    you got to be krazy over half of those people u said t.i is alot better than only name u said i agree with is 2 pac,snoop,scarface,eminem

    • daesonesb

      So you are saying that Biggie Smalls, and Big L dont make your top rapper list?
      Wack.

  • Mark My Words

    Hate to say it coming from Queens, but T.I. is officially better than LL now. LOL.

    • PRODIGAL SON

      Hell yah, damn you heard that 5 boroughs is back shit, such a cool concept, wasted… Lil Kim, Jim Jones? wasssstttteeee

  • one shot deal

    um about a good 75% of lil wayne stans haven’t payed attention to him until Go DJ so you aren’t alone.

    I like T.I. hes one of the few southern acts i listen to but I would never put him as one of the greatest though, maybe he will be in some time but not now. T.I. is like a million times a better artist than lil wayne will ever be though. Plus I didnt even like no matter what, i fell asleep during it.

  • Im just, Im just Rika from the Block!!!

    Though I was raised in NYC, b/c of my brother I grew up listening to UGK, 8Ball and MJG, Crucial Conflict, Cash Money (super early days…remember Young Turk??), Youngbloodz, Goodie Mob, I have a deep seeded love for down south, midwest rap and to me T.I. is one of the best to ever come out of the south.

    From the moment my brother bought me Im Serious, Ive been hynotized by his lyrical dance and i think his flow has only gotten better w/ time…so while I wouldnt say he could go blow for blow w/ a true lyricist like Pac, I feel he is more consistent than some of the rappers named on your list…okay just one…I HATE!!! LL Cool J…lol…

  • http://www.myspace.com/jumz JUMZ.COM

    I think TI deserves a nomination by today’s standards. But if we give one to TI do we give one to The Game too? We can’t deny that the Game can flow can we?

    food for thought

  • Pierzy

    He’s one of the best out right now but let’s relax. One thing that your profile didn’t take into account was level of competition…doesn’t that count for something? To be one of the best while there are other all-time greats around is MUCH harder than just being the best in a valley of talent. If Lil Wayne had called himself “best rapper alive” in 1991 or 1995 or even 1999, he would’ve been punched. Now? Some people agree with him and most other people say….”maybe.”

    When NaS’ first two albums came out (’94 – ’96), he was going up against Doggystyle-era Snoop (and Kurupt would could eat almost any MC alive), Wu-Tang (especially the Chef), B.I.G., a young and hungry Jay-Z, and countless others.

    Who does Tip have to overtake to claim the crown? Wayne? 50? Kanye (a producer first)? Is it still Jay or NaS?

    Make a certified and undisputed classic and then we’ll talk about all-time great. It’s like until you win a ring, you’re not in the league of Montana or Elway. And right now T.I. is Dan Marino…

    • Pierzy

      My man told me I should’ve called him Jim McMahon and not Marino. Either way, he’s no Elway and he’s not even the best in the south now…I’ll take Luda over him any day and when they went at it, Luda killed him. “Stay off the T-I-P of my d*ck!”

  • Matt

    I haven’t really been a big fan of mr. T.I. but “No Matter What” is one of the best tracks i’ve heard in the last 5 years. The quality of the raps, the production, the meaning/significance of it, its just hot!

  • OHMS

    1ST OFF, YOU MISSED GURU OF GANGSTARR…. 2ND; “DO IT” IN MY OPINION IS A CERTIFIED CLASSIC… THAT’S ALL. PEACE.

  • http://myspace.com/yeahirap myspace.com/yeahirap

    Snoop,and LL both fell off hard look how long they been in the game but that’ sno excuse Cube,and KRS still wrecc shit.But is T.I. one of the all-time greats no not even close theonly person from this generationt hat will be added to that list that deserves to be is Kanye West,Lupe should as well bu he won’t be around due to retirement I guess but Big L even counting the DITC days had two solo albums,Big Pun two solo albums,Biggie Two solo albums.They all passed,and their music lives on til this day.So see it like this if TI fell in a tragic way people would put him there.

    He’s coo to listen to but is he one of the all time greats fucc no.

    end of story.

  • yoprince

    being from Atlanta it’s just difficult to relate on topics like this, cause T.I. was being praised as one of the greats by us right after I’m Serious came out and all the In Da A mixtapes… it was a no-brainer, he just went stupid hard.

    for people interested check “Kingofdasouth”, (the original bodying of Ludacris), “Still Ain’t Forgave Myself” (one of the realest songs ever made), and “Hotel” (straight pimpin with Too Short)… and that’s just on I’m Serious.. Trap Muzik was an even better, more well-rounded album…

    “no matter what” is cool.. shawty lo got a left jab on that first verse.

  • http://www.dirtydesign.net plug 2

    i’m more of a Trugoy fan.

    and T.i. is wack!
    file under: wont listen to in 5 years.

    props for giving reggie noble shine- he doesn’t get enough credit!

  • DC

    Is this a joke? T.I. is just not a good lyricist at all. Maybe because the bar for southern rappers is just so low, anytime T.I. doesn’t rhyme like a 5 year old, it seems amazing. Compared to douches like Shawty Lo, Vanilla Ice would even seem like Nas. Luda dominates him in both longevity and actual talent, and I don’t think anyone would say that he’s a G.O.A.T.

  • Shawty J

    Is T.I. one of the greatest in the game today, I’d definitely say that he’s up there. And the only reason why people complained about T.I Vs. T.I.P. is because of how T.I. split up the track which through off the balance (meaning people realized the T.I.P. part and confrontation part was superior to the T.I. half.

  • http://yahoo reno

    yeah he is 1 right now but g.o.a.t no there’s no comp right now that last shit was garbadge and tell you the truth i listented to lil flip last album it wasnt that good but better than t.i dude is nice real talk i like his old shit like urban legend and king was good but he’s overrated i think young dro better than t.i on a street level i mean dro can spit luda hella nice and wayne come with that shit too i think the best dude right now is Bun b i mean dude eat every track he on he the only dude from the south i think can get with scarface. that boy hurricane chris go hard 2 boosie webbie,b.g a lot of news dudes cant forget fabolous.

  • Rockcity

    Only time will tell but who is he being compared to? It’s alot of weak ass rappers out now so even him being a mediocore rapper, he will still stand out as great. Compare T.I to Nas in his prime or Any of the greats in their prime and then ask yourself could he be considered one of the G.O.A.T.

  • DK

    point well taken

  • jay

    hell yeah he’s definitely one of greatest. he’s been one since trap muzik and every album is better and better. i can’t name many niggas today who actually take time with passion to make good music and consistant great albums.the best solo artist from the south since scarface and if you don’t believe something wrong with you

  • Chi-City

    T.I. is one of the best out now. And I agree that the comp level is a whole lot softer these days. As some of yall said before, he needs that classic undeniable album. But he will never be held among the elite as far as lyricist is concerned. Like most of these cats these days, he seems to be more concerned about his “swag”. But maybe the recent drama he been having will motivate him to step his game up.

  • Ali

    he’s very good…especially that new song, he didn’t even cuss…but greatest? not just yet…he has potential though

  • Chicago G

    You cat’s is clowns T.I. one of the best… yeah right… Can anyone give me a quotable from dude cause i never heard anything worth rewinding back i’m tired of you wack niggas jocking niggas swagger yeah he has a flow but not the lyrics to make him the best… Stop confusing flow with actual content. Andre 3000 is a southern nigga with content, scarface, eightball & mjg… someone happened to leave im serious in my car and i gave it a serious listen but that shit was wack only the joint with pharrell was tight.

  • http://www.myspace.com/chronikill ROX ONE

    one of the greatest at getting caught having his bodyguards buy silencers for him maybe…

    To preface my comment, I will say that I’m not the most familiar with TI outside of King and the last album, so you can take this with a grain of salt….

    ‘Whatchu Know’ and ‘Ride With Me’ are the only two songs I can say I really like by him and those, while incredible, are more cases of him not ruining a dope beat.

    He’s very minimalistic content-wise -but his flow CAN be sick… I mean when you are basically rhyming boy with toy and joy, its easy to have a sick flow. If he had some more complicated rhymes and maintained the flow, I would give him more credit. I imagine his verses take between 5-6 minutes to write.

    I think there was a Billy Sunday post a year ago or so about the monosylabic (two L’s??) nature of his writing.

    To his credit, he is really good at creating horrible hooks that nonetheless get stuck in your head. Although, I guess Swiss Beats can be blamed for ‘Bring em Out’.

    He is basically perfect for a southern rapper, but has nowhere near the skills of a slightly above average NY rapper.

    As he can’t even compared to someone like Fabolous with a straightface.

    I will agree that his flow can be very good, and (from what I’ve seen, albeit on television) he looks like he really kills it live.

    And the video for Yung whatever where TI is sitting in the living room making faces is also particularly amusing to me.

  • master cheef

    tip’s songs are motivational like pac’s.
    that dude be trying to put these niggas up on some game.

    i can see other peoples’ argument for a lot of other rappers, but dude has got my vote.

    dude doesnt use a lot of double entendres but he does do a lot of double and triple rhyme schemes. even the simpler rhymes are fresh and on some gutter shit.

    nobody can touch dude’s flow. 3rd verse on i’m talking to you was the tighest flow i ever heard.

    dude reps for the south and hip hop in a huge way.

  • BX POSTER CHILD

    ONLY TIME WILL TELL. BUT T.I. HAS ALOTTA POTENTIAL. HIS LYRICS ARENT STUNNING. BUT HE HAS GREAT FLOW. BIG PUN DIDNT HAVE ALOTTA MEMORABLE LYRICS. HE HAD A FEW, BUT HE IS REALLY KNOWN 4 HIS CRAZY FLOW. AND PAC WASNT A CRAZY LYRICIST BUT HE HAD EMOTION AND PASSION 4 THE GAME. T.I. GOT PASSION AND FLOW 2 MAKE UP 4 HIS PAR LYRICS. BUT PAC AND PUN ARE STILL THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME. T.I. HAS ALOTTA POTENTIAL, SO WE WILL SEE HOW HE DUZ IN THE FUTURE.

  • diggsy

    i agree with master cheef

  • jay

    they said the game’s fucked up and the records ain’t sellin’it was bad in 06 gettin worst in 07 market oversaturated from all the bootleggin when it’s gettin’ better shawty ain’t no tellin’ well call lyor give him this message then hit kys tell him tell kevin,craig julie greenwald all of them present that 50 mill ya gave me was a sound investment. this time around we gon’ sell 5 no less than 4 on a slow day call vegas and bet this by the way if you a winner i’m the one you should bet wit jay tell we the wrong niggas to beg against grand hustle homie i’mma make ya respect this they say the market share down so i ain’t affected tell the label relax ain’t no need to stress shit just cut the check and i’ll handle the rest- ”help is coming” niggas can’t fuck wit t.i. lyrically…. dick suckin’ haters!!!!

  • master cheef

    A smooth attitude enable me to ball outrageous
    Nigga fuck you paid me, I’m all outa favors
    What Grand Hustle got ain’t a motherfucker gave us
    A motherfuckin’ thing, but ain’t a motherfucker played us
    You gotta mil’ that’s a small percentage
    The way ya record deal structured, you only get a small percentage
    I gotta Magnum with a magnum in it
    Playstation and a plasma in it
    Sittin’ on 20 inches and it’s tinted
    Gotta hemi nothin’ faster than it
    The 50 Gs’ll pass you in it, get real
    Gotta Chevy more expensive than that Jag you rented
    Excuse me, but let Young Pimpin’ brag a minute
    Gotta bottle of Louie and a flock of groupies hotter than Rudy
    Lickin’ me dry when I get out the jacuzzi
    They eatin’ pussy, suckin’ dick until they mouth got gooey
    Can’t another young nigga in the south talk to me

  • Trey Stone

    T.I. could be the next Hov if this new album works out.

  • BORN IN THE NORTH, RAISED IN THE SOUTH

    If Tip could put together a few more albums in the caliber of “Trap Muzik” & “Urban Legend,” then he’ll be considerable of G.O.A.T. talk, IMO. Those two were his peak; everything since has been sub-par. Based on your criteria for judging a rapper’s status, you’d have to throw Luda into the conversation as well.

  • http://xxlmag.com Shadythagreat

    T.I. is a Damn snitch!! Iam keep saying this shit as long as he is relevant in yall eyes. My homies doing time behind cats like T.I.

  • TSF

    This song is amazing! Is it just me, or does T.I. sound a little like Eminem on his last few tracks?