T.I. must really be something. He’s won Grammy Awards. He’s had a song of his parodied by Weird Al Yankovic. And now he’s debuted at number one of the Billboard 200 for the third time.
The Atlanta rapper’s Paper Trail landed atop the charts in its first week of release with 568, 000 copies sold. Tip topped other strong first-week contenders Jennifer Hudson (217,000), Robin Thicke (137,000), and James Taylor (95,000), along with Metallica (86,000), who rounded out the Top 5.
Paper Trail is T.I.’s 6th album, following King and T.I. vs. T.I.P., both of which also debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.
This project was notable not only for being the rapper’s first album after his arrest on federal charges stemming from an illegal gun purchase, but for Tip’s return to writing rhymes.
“Paper Trail, man. I was just thinking about what would be new and what would be different and I was reading people saying how they missed classic T.I. from I’m Serious from Trap Muzik,” he told XXLmag in July. “So I said the only difference between T.I. now and T.I. from I’m Serious is, one, I was just rapping without thinking about the conventional methods of putting songs together—without thinking about whether or not a song would be worthy of radio play—I was only thinking about creating music and I was writing things down. So with King, T.I. vs TIP, even some of Urban Legend, I was thinking about putting songs together—16 bar, hook—16 bar, hook—16 bar—hook—where as on some records on I’m Serious it was just one long verse, just rapping—I wasn’t worrying about whether or not this was gonna be considered a single so I figured, Well maybe if I start writing things down again, it’ll provide some different perspective and make for a new sound.”
In addition to his chart-topping achievement, T.I. recently joined the likes of Michael Jackson as one of the entertainers Weird Al has targeted.
The comic will be releasing a version of T.I.’s hit “Whatever U Like,” which is set to be available on iTunes for purchase soon.—LaTisha Robbins