Paper Trail

Music review by
Jacqueline Rupp, Common Sense Media
Paper Trail Music Poster Image
Smooth raps, mature lyrics, lots of the N-word.
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Several songs objectify women and discuss getting women drunk to make them more sexually agreeable. On the track "Ready for Whatever" T.I. addresses his real-life arrest and conviction. Although he fesses up to breaking the law, he also rationalizes why he was trying to buy illegal firearms. "Either die or go to jail, that's a hell of a decision, but I'm wrong and I know my excuse is unimportant, I'm just tryin' to let you know I didn't think I had a choice."

Violence

T.I.'s weapons conviction is discussed on several tracks, although there are no references to using the weapons or hurting anyone.

Sex

Lyrics including "late night sex is so wet, so tight." The song "Porn Star" includes the most sexually explicit lines, such as "I wanna see you satisfied, inside out, once I'm in you won't want me to slide out, you tell your girlfriends, they gonna wanna try it out." And "hey would ya stay, could ya play with it with your tongue just a little."

Language

The N-word is used seven times in the first minute of the first track, Bars." The word is then used through the whole album. "S--t," "bitch," and "f--k" are sprinkled throughout each song.

Consumerism

Several songs, such as "Whatever You Like" brag about spending lots of money on cars, designer clothes, and fancy homes.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

"Pour yourself a shot and chase it with a lime girl, now you feelin' like a hot girl." Patron is name-dropped on several songs: "You can blame it on the Patron or the champagne, but sometimes being bad can be a good thing."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this album is loaded with the "N"-word. There are also several songs that objectify women and discuss getting women drunk to make them more sexually agreeable, as well as sexually explicit lyrics, most notably on the song "Porn Star." Finally, there's the issue of T.I.'s recent conviction for attempting to buy illegal weapons and possession of machine guns. He addresses this issue on the album, and although he admits he is wrong, he tries to justify what he did.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by$$*BLACKANDYELLOW*$$ May 27, 2011

Not that bad

there is not that much swearing but in his song Dead and gone there is a bit of violence and N*gga is used in about every song his song Live your life is on for... Continue reading
Adult Written byMychemicalstinkpants April 16, 2011
Teen, 13 years old Written byfdog1 January 4, 2009

Amazing Hip-Hop/ Rap CD

This was one of my favorite albums of '08. TI has incredible flow and makes an outstanding performance on this album. What makes this album so good is the... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bydfeeel2 November 29, 2008

Hip-Hop at it's Best in 2008

I got this album for my birthday last monday. I gotta say, I really love it. More original than the Tha Carter III, catchier and more genuine than other commerc... Continue reading

What's the story?

Aptly named, PAPER TRAIL is T.I.'s sixth album and marks the rapper's return to writing his lyrics on paper. This songwriting and the subsequent recording of the LP were all completed while T.I. was under house arrest on federal weapons charges and awaiting a one-year prison sentence. T.I. references this issue on many of the album's tracks and the theme of laughing in the face of adversity can be heard throughout the album.

Is it any good?

Imagine Lil' Wayne on Ritalin and you'll begin to get a feel for T.I.'s rap style. His vocals are intense and relentless, with that Southern flair so popular right now, but without the stream of consciousness and inane lyrics of Lil' Wayne. As a matter of fact T.I.'s lyrics are as deliberate as they come, precise and meticulously chosen words carefully placed against the accompanying beats and hooks. T.I. is able to capture on this album the unique hip-hop balance of street cred (his house arrest) and pop appeal.

In fact, the lighter, more mainstream tracks on the album, like "Whatever You Like" and "Live Your Life" are when T.I. really shines. Look for a standout performance by Rihanna on the latter of these tracks, who contributes a cool operatic and techno chorus.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about T.I.'s legal problems. Under house arrest and facing a year in prison, how has T.I.'s image changed since this happened? Do you think he is more respected as a rapper or less of a role model now? If T.I. was a pop singer or actor do you think his career would be more negatively affected by this arrest?

Music details

  • Artist: T.I.
  • Release date: September 30, 2008
  • Labels: Atlantic, Grand Hustle
  • Genre: Rap
  • Parental advisory: Yes
  • Edited version available: Yes

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate