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They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

T.I. No Mercy

“Everyone thinks that I have it all
But it’s so empty living behind these castle walls
If I should tumble if I should fall
Would any one hear me screaming behind these castle walls
There’s no-one here at all, behind these castle walls
Observing the estate through the gate from the outside looking in
Bet you would think I got it made, better look again
I got a butler, got a maid, and a mansion
The belief is that I’m living out a millionaires fantasy
With phantoms and ferraris in the driveway
But you see the pain and the change of the same man’s sanity
Your vision jaded by the Grammys on the mantelpiece
Just switch your camera lenses you would see the agony”

-”Castle Walls”

T.I. is a complicated man.

On the day his seventh studio album was released, Dec. 7, T.I. was sitting behind bars. The same bars he was sitting behind months after his last release, Paper Trail in September of 2008.

The 30-year-old rapper originally went to prison for one year in March of 2009 on federal weapons charges.

With a prison sentence looming, Paper Trail was a brutally honest look into T.I.’s life decisions, his problems, his regrets and his anticipation for redemption as he begged fans for a second chance. It was the second best release of his career.

Upon his release from prison earlier this year, he announced his seventh album would be titled King Uncaged and vowed it would be a redemption album, a celebratory album of life and the blessing to be free.

That was of course until he was arrested again in September on drug charges, which violated his probation and the rapper was again sentenced to 11 more months in prison in November.

King Uncaged’s title was changed to No Mercy but he might as well called it Paper Trail II, because it feels like I’m essentially listening to the same album, the same message and the same promises.

Only Paper Trail was a lot better.

It’s somewhat hard to take the rapper serious now with the whole “I know I’m wrong, I apologize,” act again for the second straight release.

T.I. has been one of the best-selling, most popular rappers of the past decade with some solid releases (Trap Muzik, Urban Legend, Paper Trail) and some very inconsistent to below average releases (I’m Serious, King, T.I. vs. T.I.P.)

No Mercy falls in the middle of those but at this point of T.I.’s career, he should be more focused on getting his life together rather than releasing sub-par material.

Despite his legal troubles, T.I. actually seems like a good guy. He’s very active in communities, he had a reality show on MTV where he took underprivileged kids who were involved with drugs or gangs and showed them what the possible outcome of their lifestyles would come to if they didn’t stop and two months ago, he convinced a suicidal person from jumping off a 22-story building in Atlanta after he drove to the scene after hearing news reports on the radio. So, he does care about people.

As T.I. says on the lead single “Get Back Up:”

“My good outweigh the bad
God, ain’t that what really matters?

A matter of fact I’m wrong but after all the good i’ve done in your hood should it overshadow that?”

No Mercy does have some solid songs on it including the opening track “Welcome to the World,” which features Kanye West, “That’s All She Wrote,” featuring Eminem, “Amazing,” featuring Pharrell and probably the best track on the album, “Castle Walls,” featuring Christina Aguilera.

And if you’re noticing a trend here, it’s that there are a lot of guest appearances and on all those tracks, T.I. is outshined by his guest.

Perhaps this time around, a prison sentence looming on T.I.’s conscience caught up to him and No Mercy just doesn’t have the honesty or the genuine feelings and heart that Paper Trail had.

-Nick Carrabine


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