T.I.: "Big Things Poppin'"


By Mark Abraham | 22 May 2007

T.I.: Johnny-come-not-intentionally who has had fame thrust upon him; who is suddenly stifled by the tragedy of economic liquidity; he's the stiff who gave up hustling for the record business; the once-just-plain-Clifford Joseph Harris now stage-named a two-poppin' syllabled "T.I." who wants us to know that we shouldn't be deceived by any rocks that he's got: he worked and works for them; the business-savvy ingenue who's from an Atlanta block where apparently Top Gun is the soundtrack 24/7. He worked hard for his edited-for-radio shit to pop, what?

T.I.P.: the performer; a giant spasm of T.I.'s id rocking a groupie erection (according to the video); the guy who'd rather fuck than keep the books; he's quick, smart, he'll rock the stage in his civies; he doesn't need chains or ice-rimmed glasses; he doesn't need the money or to prove he has money because his natural flow is so mesmerizing that we. Will. Be. Wowed. (Additionally: his charisma is so strong that he can swing on "I'm a Flirt" and walk away unscathed.)

We only have the video at this point (the actual track is called "Big Shit Poppin'"), but the single is good even if the concept I've outlined above is ludicrous. It's better than "What You Know" as a hip hop song; he's actually rapping. And though as a single it might not capture "What You Know"'s inexorable attraction, T.I.'s got a Mannie Fresh chime-bumpin' beat that runs him in a completely different direction. It's the Jay-Z move (follow up the killer push-the-genre-forward track with a party joint) and it works, T.I./T.I.P. boasting on both fronts (he's got more money and more game than.well, anybody). Just cool it with the alter egos. Self-indulgence? Thy name is The Clifford Joseph Harris Album.