So T.I. may be back in jail again but his new album is 'free'. The Long awaited follow-up to Paper Trail which was released originally two years ago, an eternity in the new rap game, hits shelves just in time for the holidays. Following a mixtape that had two lackluster singles, No Mercy is Tip's attempt to climb back to the top after his forced hiatus.
The album begins with "Welcome to the World" which features Kid Cudi and Kanye West. Cudi covers the hook in his odd voice and Kanye adds a very uneven verse where he says a lot of stuff he figures he can get away with just because he is Kanye. T.I.'s verse is more about how he is going to introduce you to the world of balling excessively, which pretty much is the theme for the album. Scarface and single Michelle'L guest appear on "How Life Changed" a song that's a retrospective about starting out broke and getting to a successful life. Although the subject matter is well talked over, Scarface's verse isn't bad and T.I. does a decent job as well. However, this is followed by "Get Back Up" with Chris Brown who is back and could have used this song last year some time.
(I was watching this video and the first half of the verse I read the lyrics and was impressed but he quickly fell off into more run of the mill nonsense)
In a head scratcher, Tip asks for forgiveness and understanding then goes into "I Can't Help It" which features Rocko (I know, wtf!) as he talks about how he can't help getting money, your chick, and balling. He even gives Rocko a verse. Once again, Eminem gets on a T.I. album but it sounds like something leftover from Relapse that Em's people managed to flip for a couple grand. It's out of place and could have been left off because neither artist does a particularly good job. Jake One produced "Salute" where TI tells about his credentials and takes his King persona up a notch. "Amazing" with Pharrell is another weak offering with TI focusing on wilding because he is rich and disrespecting someone's girl. "Everything on Me" is the same exact song with a different beat.
"Big Picture" is the same story, I have money, get bitches and run shit, yadda yadda yadda. "lay Me Down" with Rico Love is about females loving him up then loving him down and it sounds dated. "Poppin Bottles" is about guess what? Drake is featured on the song but the verse is talking about him and Wayne which is sort of odd on a song with T.I. . "Castle Walls" with Christina Aguilera is the most in-depth song on the album and is the only one that reminds me of the Tip that forced me to respect him no matter how many mistakes he made. But my favorite song on the album is "Strip" with Trey Songz and Young Dro who has my favorite verse on the entire album. "No Mercy" , the title track, features the Dream and T.I. tries to make some solid lyricism in his verses and it works for the most part, although I am irked that he is trying to catch an attitude because the public seems to be irritated and nonchalant as far as feeling sorry for his situations.
This album was yet another letdown from a big artist. While he manages to have some solid tracks i am lacking the slight growth I had gotten from Tip on his past albums. He is focused on continuing to portray his party image when now might not be the best time to talk about that with his continued struggles and legal problems. Including more of that would have made the album more 'realistic'. In addition, he tries too hard to get the banging singles he is known for and falls flat. The order also suffers slightly because there is no way the song with Chris Breezy should have come third in order. It shows a lack of understanding and just an overall laziness and bad judgement by the execs involved with this. Eight or Nine of the fourteen tracks are just listen once and never again and that's way too many for a guy like this.