A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that these lyrics are filled with strong language, including most (if not all) of the English language's four-letter words. The "N" word is also used frequently, and there are references to guns, violence, and exploitive sexuality. "I guarantee I put this D-I-C-K in somebody's daughter...still have my way with the ladies across the water" is one of T.I.'s more poetic expressions of romantic love.
What's the story?
T.I. is a man with a lot of talent -- along with a heart, a soul, and a social conscience. He also has some very accomplished friends, many of whom jumped on board to help him make the extraordinary-sounding album, T.I. VS T.I.P. Unfortunately, T.I. is so obsessed with his own importance, wealth, and connections that the good stuff gets lost in the shuffle, despite some wonderful performances and instrumental tracks that crackle with intense energy.
Is it any good?
Life's ups and downs have fueled art since the beginning of time, and T.I. is adept at using events in his own life as inspiration for his lyrics. Unfortunately, while there's ample opportunity to communicate with intelligence and passion, he spends so much time boasting about his wealth, guns, and sexual prowess that any potentially relevant message gets lost in the bravado. This, along with an obsession with explicit language, ends up diluting what could be a powerful and poignant message.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how effective it is -- or isn't -- to brag about your exploits. T.I. has some important things to say, but he spends so much time talking about how rich and talented he is that his message sometimes gets lost in the process. How would you handle being rich and famous? Families can also discuss how artists can use sexuality in a positive way. Do rappers need to be x-rated to be heard?