This week's best offerings come from the "King of the South" and Chicago's latest rap star.
T.I., Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head
Expectations heading into this album were mixed at best, as T.I. failed to produce any sort of buzz through formulaic promotional tracks. Fortunately, those songs were no indication of the heat the self-proclaimed "King of the South" was holding onto for his eighth solo album, Trouble Man. The LP finds the Atlanta-bred spitta moving on from the paper-thin introspective lyrics that plagued No Mercy and reuniting with the cocky criminal-minded ego of former classics like I'm Serious and Trap Muzik. Trouble Man is Tip at his best, and even production from the likes of DJ Toomp, T-Minus, Hit-Boy, and Jazzy Pha does not disappoint. Check out "The Way We Ride," "Wildside," and "Sorry."
Chief Keef, Finally Rich
Much has been said about Chicago newcomer Chief Keef. He made headlines throughout the year because of his many legal troubles after his song "I Don't Like" went viral with a little help from Kanye West. His crew has also been in the news for cheering the slaughter of a fellow Chi-town rapper by an opposing gang and for viciously attacking a female and apologizing only after the outcry got loud enough.
The music on Finally Rich doesn't shy away from the tough persona Chief Keef has created for himself. Fans have always mocked rappers for not actually living the lives their lyrics portray, but no one was ready for a 17-year-old to unapologetically rap about his past crimes and revel in the horribleness of it all. For what it's worth, hip-hop culture and the dilapidated scene of Chicago's south side created Chief Keef, so it doesn't feel right to criticize his ignorance. If his age didn't make us feel self-conscious, we'd all be cheering and chanting the lyrics. This album is less Rick Ross and Jeezy (who both make guest appearances) and more Gucci Mane. Take the singles and leave the rest.
Mixtape-wise, be sure to pick up the free offerings from Juvenile, Cash Out, and SpaceGhostPurrp.
No Best Rock Releases this week, since no original material was released.
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