Review: T.I. : No Mercy

Rating: 7.5 / 10

T.I’s latest album, No Mercy,

is his first studio release since his prison release. The album comes at and important period in his career since the ATL trap rapper found himself back behind bars shortly after getting out. T.I worked tirelessly to rebuild

his image through his philanthropy, movies and other efforts. Could this album help his Hip Hop

image flourish too? No Mercy is a solid album through and

through, but fails to shine at times. The album - Tip's seventh - discusses the sorid truth behind fame – the life, trials, and

tribulations that come with it.

No Mercy opens with a bang featuring G.O.O.D Music members, Kanye West and Kid

Cudi, on “Welcome to the World”. The song enters in with a

flare and gives a penetrating impression – powerful and sets the tone for

the entire album. No Mercy features T.I reflecting on the

life that he lived – evident of the thankfulness expected as he was

released from prison. The features seem to carry the album forward

- 11 out of the 14 tracks feature other artists – which acts as a

double edged sword. While it shows off the in the music, sadly

it leaves much of T.I himself to be desired.

“Get Back Up” features Chris Brown

and the result is a cool ballad with an appealing melody. The song acts as a translucent

look into T.I and Chris Brown’s current careers. A standout

track, it is one of the strongest cuts on the album. “That’s

All She Wrote”, the highly anticipated song featuring Eminem does

not fail to impress – easily the premier song on the entire album.

Eminem scorches the production by Dr Luke and outshines T.I ‘s verse.

“Poppin’ Bottles” featuring Drake, showcases fantastic production

with good - not great - verses from each artist.

The title track “No Mercy” 

featuring The Dream is reminiscent of Paper Trail and the sonic signature of that album. Remorseful, deep, and

dark this song talks about the life that he lives. While it is

a reach, T.I talks about his future and what is in store for him –

even going as far to call himself the second coming of Tupac.

While this will be up for debate for a long time to come, it is evident

that T.I is reflecting on his year long career hiatus. “Castle

Walls”, the next single for the album, talks about the true theme

of the album. T.I sounds like a lonely king on this album.

Reaching, perhaps in vain, to find someone to understand the troubles he endures. Other solid songs include, “Strip”, “Big Picture”

and “Lay Me Down”

The album does have its share of goose

eggs though, however. “Amazing” featuring Pharrell is simply under par for these two superstars.

The chorus struggles and the production is lackluster. “How

Life Changed” is a laidback track that examines the stark difference

in T.I’s life. Featuring Scarface, the majority of the song leaves

much to be desired. The song itself works, but its terribly misplaced. Following “Welcome to the World”, "How Life Changed, leaves the listener in an emotional freefall.

No Mercy is a good album.

While at times it sounds like a compilation album, it delves fearlessly into the

dark side of fame. There are a few stand out tracks

however many of the songs fail to take T.I. the next level he sought as he exited prison over the summer. Introspective and still a comeback of sorts, it remains pretty pathetic that T.I. is not here to come back with it.