T.I. expresses his life balance on The L.I.B.R.A.
It's Libra Season and it's King season, as T.I. is back with a new album called The L.I.B.R.A. which makes this his 11th album. The album came out on October 16th, 2020 under Grand Hustle and EMPIRE. The 40-year-old rapper decided to gather a bunch of his friends and some rappers I never thought TIP would do a collaboration with such as Benny The Butcher, Conway The Machine, and Rapsody. We have other appearances from Young Thug, 21 Savage, Lil Baby, Jeremih, Domani, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg, Jadakiss, and others.
The album starts with "The L.I.B.R.A Introduction" where TIP raps about his hustling days before becoming an upcoming successful rapper. The instrumental is a start to the album and the whole theme of the song reminds of Jay-Z's "Where I'm From". Then we have a dope beat called "Hit Dogs Holla" featuring Tokyo Jetz and T.I. sounds like little badass TIP from the I'm Serious days in 2001 but he's grown now and on the songs like "Ring" featuring Young Thug, "Pardon" featuring Lil Baby, and "On The Hood" featuring 42 Dugg and Mozzy, the beats are banging and T.I. change of flow and his way of rapping blends well the new generation of rappers.
Now that we had a vibe of T.I. with the new generation, let's go to some back in the day's vibe. "Moon Juice" is produced by Westcoast OG produced Battlecat and it features Snoop Dogg and Jeremih. The beat has the best vibe so far with that California Battlecat sound and the instrumental resembles Tha Eastsidaz "G'd Up" which is also produced by Battlecat. Then we have a poetic interlude "Air & Water" that features and rapped by Rapsody where she explains and described how great and T.I. came up as a King, and what a good father he is to his children. "Hypno" has that Trap Muzik, and I do mean that T.I.P. Trap Muzik 2003 vibe with a sample of The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize". On the song "1/2 Ticket" we have London Jae, and T.I. also hooked up with Buffalo rapper, Conway The Machine. At first, I was skeptical of how hard and grimy the beat will be with TIP and Conway on the same song, but it was totally the opposite. The instrumental does go hard but it has that vibe where the video could look like were guys from the hood made it to the rich lifestyle standing and dancing in front of Bentleys, Maybachs, and Benz. Both T.I. and Conway lyrically serve this beat rapping exactly how they used their street hustle to make it big in the mainstream world. Speaking of hustle, the following song is called "Respect The Code" featuring Rick Ross and it has that midnight vibe with the saxophone in the back while both rappers rap about being true to their words either good or bad.
Halfway through the album, we have the song "Put Some On It" followed by "Family Connect" featuring T.I.'s son Domani and it's produced by his other son, Messiah. What a nice song from the Harris Kings as T.I. raps about leaving a heritage of life to his son while Domani raps about learning the game of life from his father. We have a dope lyrically track titled "Make Amends" featuring Jadakiss and Benny The Butcher where all 3 emcees rap about being men of God but they still have to play in the devil's yard because there's no escaping it, but make peace with it. Following an interlude called "Fire & Earth" featuring Ernestine Johnson Morisson, there's the song "Pantone Blue" featuring Alec Beretz who did a wonderful job of singing on the hook while T.I. raps about balance in his verses.
Dope instrumental on the song "Horizons" produced by 9th Wonder with T.I. on the lyrical side, this makes a kick-ass song, alongside the respect and justice towards black women from a message by Tamika Mallory. Speaking of justice, it's nice to see good friends working together and make a nice song. As T.I. teams up with two of his justice partners in crime, David Banner on the production, and Killer Mike as a featured rapper alongside Eric Bellinger on the hook to sing on the song "How I Feel". The song is mostly about African American fighting for justice and peace for decades, as T.I. and Killer Mike explains on the song, and they figured out if the government is not going to help them, as black men and black women they have to help themselves and being part of the government by any means. "We Did It Big" features John Legend and T.I. reminisces about his childhood friend Philant Johnson who died in 2006 when T.I. was rising to the top of his career. The second verse is about T.I.'s other childhood friend, Cap from who I remember if I can recall on T.I. saying on his older songs, was serving a long-time sentence in jail and how much their time was crazy. Throughout all the losses, the fun times, the crazy times, and hell, T.I. and his buddies made it big after all the adversities. "Thank God" featuring 21 Savage where both rappers are thankful for their lives no matter what their ups and downs. "Deyjah's Conclusion" is where T.I.'s album concludes with his daughter Deyjah talks about how important life matters and how important to love yourself to expose the beauty of your soul.
The L.I.B.R.A. is where we see and hear T.I. exposes himself as a rapper, hustler, an entrepreneur, a visionary, a husband, and a father and how he keeps the balance of all these roles he has in his life. The album was enjoyable, each song instrumentals were well-produced, and I couldn't say one featured guest did a bad job. T.I. could mix himself well with the new generation of rappers, he showed he can still hold his own lyrically on the mic with the likes of Jadakiss, Benny The Butcher, and Conway The Machine. It was also nice to see black women supporting a black on his own album by speaking well of him, like Rapsody and Ms. Pat, as the saying goes behind every black man, there's a strong black woman, I prefer to say behind anyone, there's a strong lovable team behind that person.
Beat Instrumental: 3.5/5
Album Production: 3.5/5