Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., otherwise known as T.I., may be the king of trap music - hiphop primarily concerned with the distribution of crack cocaine - but the most controversial part of his fifth album is that he doesn't deliver.
The album's promised concept of a psychological battle between the rapper's criminal and celebrity sides is barely touched. As such, T.I. Vs T. I.P. is a long-playing anticlimax scored by mid-tempo beats, over which T.I. coasts with merely sufficient lyrical flows about ballin' and hustlin', but offers little on the tension between the two.
One example of this is Touchdown, featuring Eminem, where the two talents fumble with slow-boiling verses devoid of standout lines. Other songs flop further, while most barely pass. Still, the uneven album does have a few shining moments.
On You Know What It Is, hands-down one of the best hiphop singles of 2007, producer Wyclef Jean suddenly gets his groove back with emergency-ready violins and a million-dollar bass line. Busta and Jay-Z also bring their best cameo game in a while, but T.I. vs T.I.P. suffers from its star's inability to commit to character. If T.I. is so conflicted, why does he sound so complacent?