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Album Review: T.I.- “Dime Trap”- How The King Was Able To Utilize The History Of Trap Music In The Evolution Of His 10th Album

By Yuriy Andriyashchuk Staff Writer

T.I. released his 10th studio album “Dime Trap”  this past weekend. The anticipation has grown for this project since late 2015. The leading singles for Dime Trap were ‘Wraith‘ feat. Yo Gotti, ‘Jefe‘ feat. Meek Mill, ‘The Weekend‘ featuring Young Thug, and ‘The Amazing Mr. F*ck Up‘ feat. Victoria Monet.

T.I. told me at Dime Trap’s listening session leading up to the hours of its official release that diversity and evolution would be the themes of this project. That was definitely the case as it wasn’t the typical T.I. album which had that 100% trap music sound that King, Trap Muzik or Urban Legend did. I wanted to hear the old Tip from his older albums as well but instead, as T.I. continued to say at Dime Trap’s premiere, it was a TED Talk for trap music. That is acceptable here as as the records are based on his experiences in the trap.

Dime Trap opened up with ‘Seasons‘ feat. Sam Hook. What was dope about the intro here was that Dave Chappelle narrated it. T.I. had previously posted a short clip to Twitter in the weeks leading up to the project with Chappelle narrating a track and Seasons ended up being just that. Chappelle says how for all of his life, he just wanted to be great and that when the stakes are everything, you’ll tell yourself everything you need to survive. As far as the record goes, T.I. started out by saying that he was the one who helped paved the way for others in the trap. Tip also discusses the turmoil that his fame caused to his marriage. He also revealed that he spoke to a marriage counselor. Sam Hook delivered a solid hook where he details the fast changes in life just like seasons. The beat for Seasons could’ve been a more uptempo record but the end of the record made me reminisce of his Trap Muzik album where he said “This ain’t no game, this a muthaf*ckin’ trap” just like he did in the intro for that project. Like that iconic line, Chappelle also added a motivational outro with “I’m not promisin’ to be perfect but I’ll try my best to be great.” Chappelle would go on to narrate other records throughout the album.

Laught At Em served as the perfect trap record for T.I. but the instrumental for it wasn’t very compatible with the lyrics. Nonetheless, the King did a great job of addressing social injustices such as the deaths of Mike Brown, Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland along with dissing anyone who voted for Donald Trump. He still raised his fist high on Laugh At Em as he proclaimed himself as the originator of trap music, how he’s been running Atlanta and his days back in the trap when fiends would rely on him to get the drugs they needed.

T.I. featured the alternative R&B group Watch The Duck on his previous Paperwork album and brought them along on Dime Trap for the song ‘Big Ol Drip.’ It’s no surprise to me that T.I. made a song with this title because he’s been showing off his different outfits on social media and had the drip for sure. He incorporated that into this record detailing how he was brought up in his Bankhead neighborhood in Atlanta. Big Ol Drip could be felt by the older hip-hop fans.

Wraith feat. Yo Gotti was the first real club record on Dime Trap. Tip brings the drip to this one as well as on the hook. Gotti brought it back to his old Cocaine Muzik mixtape days on his verse which was good to see. Regardless if you’re bumpin’ this song in a Wraith or not, it’ll still ride in those speakers.

The Weekend feat.Young Thug was another solid party record. It serves as a record that’s fitting to close out the summer. It’s basically vibin’ at the pool, women being around you, and and like Tip said before, f*ckin’ the city up. The collaboration between Tip and Thugga was up to par just as they were with their 2014 smash hit ‘About The Money.

At T.I.’s Dime Trap listening event, he detailed the background of the song ‘The Amazing Mr. F* k Up’ as a record replaying the constant mistakes he made throughout his life but also being able to move on past them. Among the issues discussed were dealing with fed time in prison and cheating allegations. Victoria Monet provided a smooth hook to the song as the connection was strong between the two artists here just as they were on their ‘Stay’ track from the Paperwork album.

At Least I Know featured Anderson .Paak and was definitely an entertaining record. T.I. and Paak both detail the ups and downs of a relationship which includes the fighting and if they’ll stick around through the BS. Tip got right into it on the opening verse with “I’m already knowin’ and you might think that I’m already going. Looking at your phone, you see me call, you ignore it. Make me wanna call another whore up. My pimp kicking in, too high for this s*it.” .Paak also delivered on his own verse in addition to the hook of the song.

What Can I Say had T.I. looking back on all the trials and tribulations he came from dating back to his Westside Atlanta Bankhead neighborhood as he celebrates his successes now. Dave Chappelle’s narration prior to the song starting was also fititing where he shouted out everyone who stayed the course despite adversity and held firm.

Jefe feat. Meek Mill dropped a month ago and grew the anticipation for Dime Trap. Bangladesh was behind the production with horns and drums. Tip and the former Grand Hustle signee flexed on haters effortlessly on Jefe as the sound behind it also added Spanish flavor to it. Both artists created a banger with this one. This isn’t the first time the two have collaborated on T.I.’s album as Meek also appeared on the Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head album from 2012.

I was hoping for a T.I. & Jeezy collab on Dime Trap and that’s what we got on More & More as this is in my top two of favorite songs on Dime Trap. The two Atlanta rappers keep going after wins on this record and their affiliation with the trap music genre didn’t disappoint on More and More either. Both have consistently put out hard records together since 2005 ever since T.I. appeared on Jeezy’s ‘Bang‘ song off of the Thug Motivation 101 album.

YFN Lucci is undoubtedly one of the best artists of the new Atlanta era and I’ve wondered when he would hop on a record with Tip. That eventually happened on Dime Trap with the song ‘Pray For Me.’ This is a top two record on this project as it served as a solid motivational record where you can make it out no matter the circumstances you’re facing.

Looking Back had T.I. continuing to be grateful to be in the position he’s in despite going through turmoil and the environment that he came from. I expected a more slower beat but David Banner was still up to par in the production.

Tip expressed his appreciation for ‘Light Day‘ at the listening event for Dime Trap because of the fact that its the first ever record that his son Messiah produced for him. The production was definitely on point as T.I. brushed off what he’s faced and accomplished and looks at it as another day for him.

The T.I.& Teyana Taylor collab on ‘You‘ was a record I was looking forward to ahead of Dime Trap’s release. The record did a great job in detailing that people can still succeed despite mistakes made such as Tip not finishing school and going to prison but still having made millions of dollars in his career.

Dime Trap concluded with the song ‘Be There’ feat. fellow Grand Hustle signee London Jae. Tip raised his fists in the air as he wraps up his 10th album detailing how even though his back was against the wall, he still came out on top.

T.I. has definitely evolved since his debut album I’m Serious in 2001 where a boastful young man from Bankhead came onto the scene. T.I.’s run in the 2000s was predicated on the trap music genre but after the adversity he went through such as lenghty prison sentences, he started to not make every record a trap sound with the beat to go with it but bases them on trap music. On Dime Trap, I wanted more of the ‘24s,’ ‘Dope Boyz,’ ‘Rubberband Man,’ and ‘What You Know‘ sounds but I learned to appreciate him incorporating what he dealt with in the trap to make good music overall.

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