On this day, August 19, in hip-hop history…
2003: After his first album, I’m Serious, debuted to poor sales in 2001, T.I. asked for a joint venture with Arista Records or to be released from his contract. The label, not wanting to sink anymore money into his career, granted T.I. his release and he soon returned to the lab to record new music. After dropping a couple of street tapes with his then-budding DJ, DJ Drama and making a guest appearance on Bone Crusher’s hit, “Neva Scared,” the industry came knocking back on his door after the buzz began to grow, again. T.I. decided to sign with Atlantic and in August of 2003, he dropped his sophomore album, Trap Muzik, to renewed fanfare.
Trap Muzik is considered T.I.’s one of finest outings and the album that broke him nationally as a budding rap star. The album spawned numerous hit singles, including “24′s,” “Be Easy,” “Rubberband Man,” and “Let’s Get Away.” It eventually hit platinum and featured production from a young Kanye West, David Banner, Jazze Pha and long-time co-hort, DJ Toomp, to round out the album’s sound.
These days, Trap Muzik is recognized as one of the greatest Southern rap albums of all-time. Thematically, its an album that deals with the grim realities of life in the drug game in America. T.I.’s exploration of life in “the trap” connected with hip-hop fans and the album would go on to become a commercial success, selling over 1.7 million units and becoming the surprise success of 2003. The album became a springboard for his career and T.I. would go on to become one of the signature rap stars of the 2000s, selling millions of records, appearing in movies and becoming one of the most recognizable faces in all of music.