T.I. Breaks Down His Singles At ‘Paperwork’ Listening Party
Last night, Columbia Records held a small and intimate listening party for T.I.'s upcoming 9th studio album, Paperwork: The Motion Picture at their offices in midtown Manhattan. Though Tip himself couldn't make it—he called in on a conference call during the session and said he was tied up filming a movie that was taking longer than expected—his new label (after a decade signed to Atlantic) did show a video that T.I. filmed where he broke down the four singles that had been previously released. While the guests sat around a conference table taking in drinks named after some of the tracks on his album—"G'Shit" was a Jack and coke, "No Mediocre" a vodka cranberry concoction and "About The Money" a vodka orange juice—Tip explained how singles "Paperwork," "New National Anthem," "About The Money" and "No Mediocre" came about.
"['New National Anthem'] spoke to me in a way where I said, man, I should probably put this out," T.I. said about the Skylar Grey-assisted track, which he said he wrote over a year ago around the time the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin verdict was announced. "People need to hear this now." He also explained his relationship with Young Thug, saying that he knew Thugger from things around the city outside of music but decided to collaborate with him after the success of "Stoner" and "Danny Glover" began to prove that Thug wasn't messing around when it came to music. The two apparently have another 12 or 13 records in the bank in addition to "About The Money."
The label played the entire 18-track deluxe version of Paperwork as well, which is very feature-heavy—only three of the tracks are solo T.I. songs, and two of those are deluxe bonus cuts—and there are plenty of standout moments. "G'Shit," featuring Jeezy and Watch The Duck, is an old-school, off kilter country swamp banger that drips with the type of swag that you could hear Big Boi rhyme over if he was ridin' dirty through ATL without a care in the world. "Jet Fuel" with Lil Boosie leans more towards the darker side of Southern trap and Boosie couldn't sound more at home. Badazz was emotional and vulnerable on his verse on Jeezy's "Beez Like," but he gets sinister and calculating on the Paperwork track. Nipsey Hu$$le delivers a standout verse on "About My Issue," though the Usher-assisted "At Ya Own Risk" may have been a better fit, production-wise, for his brand of L.A. rap. And two of the album's later cuts, "On Doe, On Phil" featuring Trae Tha Truth and "Light 'Em Up" featuring Pharrell and Watch The Duck are meditations on friends lost to the game, with a particularly gutting spoken-word section about the night Doe B died dividing the tracks.