A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?