MTV News recently had the opportunity to hear the final version of T.I.'s upcoming album (see "T.I. Taking On T.I.P. With Help From Eminem, Justin Timberlake"). Some of the tracks that we heard previously are still there, but a few have been taken off, such as a duet with Ciara.
Among the new ones that made the cut is T.I.'s long-talked-about collaboration with Jay-Z. The track, "Watch What You Say," appears in Act I of the album, which features T.I.P.'s point of view. Over producer Khao's slow guitars, Tip immediately lets his opponents know that playing games is for kids and nobody better call him out. "Let me find you talkin' tough in your song, when you see/ You know what's up, it's on," he warns. "I'll make a mountain out a molehill, you don't wanna get your folk killed/ … I ain't never been a sucka, been gangsta my whole life."
"You're talking to the author, the architect of The Blueprint / My DNA is in your music," Jay adds later.
Busta Rhymes brings his maniacal AR-15 flow to the grumpy hop of "Hurt," while Act II — T.I.'s portion of the LP — starts off with the MC's calmer persona teaming with Nelly for "Show It to Me."
The vibe is surprisingly tranquil on the Eminem duet "Touchdown," which T.I. told us is about what him and Em do when they touch down in various cities (see "T.I. Gives 'Rappin' Fool' Eminem A T.I.P. About Alter Egos").T.I. talks about trying to keep T.I.P. "in his cage," but his alter ego always manages to escape. On the song, however, T.I. speaks more about love than conflicts.
Em, who also produced the track, uses a Dirty South flow to spread word of good times ("I got the whole place looking like it's candy painted") and wild adventures, such as people "hopping around like Frogger when they see Marshall's car coming."
The only vocals featured on "Help Is Coming" are T.I.'s over Just Blaze's beat. You can imagine the King of the South's chest poking out of a white tank top as he raps about putting the rap industry on his back.
"Got the game on lock, it ain't gon' stop/ Say hello to the man who saved hip-hop," he brags. "They say the market share down, so what, I ain't affected.
"Every album I drop, I get better and better/ F— the climate, I turn the heat up when I want to," he raps toward the end of the record.
Act III of the album brings both of the MC's sides face to face as they try to resolve their building conflict. Tip started the album ruffling the feathers of some of the executives at Atlantic Records by threatening that he won't put out another LP until 2028. (Warner Music Group CEO Lyor Cohen is actually featured on the intro warning Tip to not play with his money.) Later, a confused T.I. wakes up from spending a night at home and catches the blame for his alter ego's actions. He has to smooth things over.
Track list for T.I.'s T.I. vs. T.I.P. — which drops July 3 — according to Atlantic Records:
Act I (T.I.P.)
· "Big Sh– Poppin' (Do It)"
· "You Know What It Is" (featuring Wyclef Jean)
· "Da Dopeman"
· "Watch What You Say to Me" (featuring Jay-Z)
· "Hurt" (featuring Alfamega and Busta Rhymes)
Act II (T.I.)
· "Help Is Coming"
· "My Swag" (featuring Wyclef Jean)
· "We Do This"
· "Show It to Me" (featuring Nelly)
· "Don't Wanna Be High"
· "Touchdown" (featuring Eminem)
Act III (T.I. vs. T.I.P.)
· "Tell 'Em I Said That"
· "Respect This Hustle"
· "My Type"