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49 of 67 found the following review helpful:
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice... Dec 07, 2010
I'm almost embarrassed of the review I wrote of T.I.'s last album, Paper Trail. I called it "astounding in its sincerity" and applaud T.I. for his "nuanced understanding of life" and for owning up to his mistakes. Boy, did he have me fooled. No Mercy is little more than Paper Trail Redux. We hear the same tired excuses, the same promises to change and the same admonition of his so-called "haters." Except this time, instead of a good record we get a feature-heavy mess rushed out the door before another jail stint, from a rapper than can't seem to embody the role model he keeps trying to convince us that he is.
The parallels between this record and Paper Trail are numerous. On Paper Trail we heard "Apologies to the fans, I hope you can understand it" while on this album we get "Apologies to my fans, and my closest friends/ For letting you down, I won't take you down this road again," (on a track featuring that other poster boy for good decisions, Chris Brown). On Paper Trail Tip rapped ""You've seen it all before guys, know how the story goes/ It's like Tupac never died, sit back enjoy the show," and here we get "Blatant displays today of hypocrisy, boy you gots to be kiddin' me/ Could it be possible, second coming of `Pac is me." "Swing Your Rag" from Paper Trail is "Salute" on No Mercy, "Poppin' Bottles" is this album's "Every Chance I Get," Tip swaps out Rihanna for Christina Aguilera and gives us "Castle Walls" instead of "Live Your Life," another vehicle for him to lament the trials of fame and fortune. T.I. even ensures that listeners relive the horror of "Porn Star" through "Strip."
Perhaps the most redeeming aspect of the album is the part that Tip has little to do with: The features. Whereas on Paper Trail's "Swagger Like Us" we heard T.I. embarrass three of the biggest rappers on the planet, on No Mercy nearly every featured artist outpaces Tip. Eminem and Kanye West deliver particularly noteworthy verses, and even Pharrell, a producer by day and rapper on the side, outshines T.I.
To be perfectly fair, this isn't a bad album. The beat selection is solid, T.I.'s lyricism has been worse in the past and the features are phenomenal. But any positive aspects of the album are marred by the utter feeling of insincerity you can't shake as you listen to the same themes, the same songs and the same excuses. You can't help but feel No Mercy is just another exercise in T.I.'s specialty: Playing the victim.
14 of 18 found the following review helpful:
T.I. - A Tragic Hero??? Dec 07, 2010
"Both Eyes Closed, see what u don't hear what u can't"
Throughout his music career, T.I. has been in and out of trouble. Whether the subject of beef and violence with other rappers such as Gucci Mane, Ludacris, Lil Flip, or Shawty Lo, jail sentences with the infamous weapons charge in response to his friend's murder and most recently his blatant violation of probation of making illegal u-turns with various drugs in his possession after he had "gotten off easy". But yet T.I. served his community service admirably by enthusiastically visiting schools and helping the youth at detention centers. He even miraculously talked a man down from jumping off a building earlier this year prior to his prison sentence.
To many fans it is puzzling why he cannot stay out of trouble. He has a family that counts on him, the record label has stalled with output without him, his acting career is on the verge having appeared in American Gangster and more recently Takers alongside some talented actors, and the endorsements and TV shows continue to roll in. The mistakes and the lapses in judgment are pretty much unexplainable.
So when T.I. got out of jail earlier this year and started to prepare his comeback most people were eager to see what he had in store and if he could still do it. There were whispers of T.I. falling off and not having a "buzz" for this album...mostly through the blogs who overhype certain acts and downplay others.
Earlier this year he dropped "Bump" A Mixtape , even though it was overshadowed by Rick Ross' Albert Anastacia which dropped on the same day, was still a solid mixtape to whet the appetite and start the T.I. comeback campaign. In the next few months he released a flurry of singles including Hell Of A Life, Got Your Back ft. Keri Hilson, I'm Back, Yeah Ya Know (Takers), Ya Hear Me, and Remember Me ft. Mary J. Blige which were all pretty good songs and none made the album.
The album originally titled King Uncaged was to be released in conjunction with the Takers movie however, T.I. was arrested on for drug possession and traffic violations. The album was pushed back and renamed to No Mercy and here we are.
Any talk of a fall off should be immediately silenced once this album is heard. If his guest appearances on Nelly, N.E.R.D., Ron Isley, and Rick Ross' albums amongst others didn't convince you then the album is here to set the record straight.
On No Mercy, T.I. revisits several elements that made his other albums successful. Whether it's the introspection and reflection of Paper Trail, the storytelling of KING or the aggressiveness on Urban Legend, T.I. does what he does and does it well. The production well fits the mood of the album and is done by a handful of producers including Kanye West, DJ Toomp, The Dream, Jim Jonsin, Neptunes and Jake One amongst others. The features are also high profile with Eminem, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Drake, Christina Aguilera and Chris Brown being the headliners. Welcome To The World, Castle Walls, and the title track are the greatest songs but the rest of the album is no slouch.
T.I., the King of the South, manages to release another solid album and the second in a row in which he is unable to enjoy the success or promote properly because of his decisions. Still, however, he continues to show that he is an elite rapper and a headliner for his music. No Mercy fits in nicely with the rest of his outstanding catalog and there is no let down in the music or the lyrics (the only lame album was T.I. vs. T.I.P.). I doubt T.I. will top the charts with this album but that doesn't make it any less worthy or praise or recognition. No Mercy is an album worth having in the collection. 4.5 stars.
* There are several versions of the album which means bonus tracks. The aformentioned singles not on the album as well as Follow Me Now and I Pledge Allegiance To The Swag ft. Rick Ross are on the ** version and the deluxe edition has two bonus tracks Like So & That's What I Thought. Why not release a double album?? So find those the best way you can.*
1 of 1 found the following review helpful:
not the best Dec 21, 2010
By David R. Lingard
personally now ti is going the way ludacris is going to r&b stop calling this music rap because it isn't. ti started off a rapper but this has nothing to do with rap its r&b.
1 of 1 found the following review helpful:
Disappointed Dec 12, 2010
By LA Hottie
Not sure what went wrong here but I was expecting more. I am a T.I. fan but this CD seems watered down. Maybe it was due to his current circumstances and so some of the songs had to be rushed before his "vacation" but definitely not his best effort. Still a fan but just not of this CD.
3 of 4 found the following review helpful:
I disagree with the Title of this album... Apr 08, 2011
"No Mercy" as the title was a very poor decision because T.I. was caught with illegal fully automatic weapons which could have put him in prison for life. He some how received the best deal of anyone charged with this which was 1 year with probation that he obviously was not able to abide by explaining his current imprisonment. The album itself was quickly put together before he had to begin his federal sentence which so he had very little time and this is why the album falls short of his other albums which I would rate 5/5.
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