The essential cuts from the trap pioneer.
T.I. is the King of the South. Not because you think so, but because he says so. A man that has achieved the accolades that T.I. has, has the right to call himself the king of whatever he wants. Any man that disputes it only propels the idea further by giving it attention. It was with that mentality, and the instincts of a hustler, that T.I. became hip-hop royalty.
It wasn’t easy for TIP to ascend the classes of hip-hop. Top tier rappers like Jay-Z and Nas were running the game in the early 2000s, while newcomers like Eminem and Ludacris were building their reputations. TIP’s first studio album dropped in 2001, the same year as The Blueprint, Stillmatic, Word of Mouf, Pain Is Love, Miss E… So Addictive, Kiss Tha Game Goodbye, Dirty Money, and a lengthy list of other classic rap albums. Needless to say, the competition was well equipped, and TIP’s debut didn’t necessarily move mountains. It did shake the pavement though.
From I’m Serious forward, T.I. evolved. His mastery of crafting monumental hip-hop music and moments only became more refined throughout the years. Trap Muzik, Urban Legend, King, T.I. vs T.I.P., Paper Trail, and the list goes on. Despite battling legal troubles, and entertaining several high-profile beefs, TIP has remained the most astute and vigilant hustler in hip-hop. His discography is beyond impressive; it has earned him multiple Grammys and the respect of every rap fan in the world.
Mixtapes can be both fans' and rappers' favorite format of hip-hop entertainment, but studio albums are the lifeblood of an artist’s legacy. Of course, there is a long list of rappers who have classic mixtapes that shook hip-hop to its core. TIP has a few of those himself. Still, when a list of top five rappers is debated, the hip-hop heads involved are most likely basing their opinions on albums, singles, or album cuts. It’s with that mindset that we compiled a list of T.I.’s best songs. No mixtape records, no songs that T.I. only features on. Just the crème de la crème of TIP’s prestigious studio album discography.