The L.I.B.R.A.

The L.I.B.R.A.

Libra is in fact T.I.’s astrological sign, but as the title of his 11th studio album, it’s an acronym for Legend Is Back Running Atlanta. The project comes two years after his last, DIME TRAP, and in the meantime he stayed visible by way of a long-running reality show, a podcast, and an increasingly active interest in civil rights issues, as documented in the third episode of Netflix’s series Rapture. He’d make time to pop up as a featured artist—most notably on Kanye West’s somewhat bewildering “Ye vs. the People,” where the pair go back and forth in verse about the implications of West wearing a MAGA cap—but with The L.I.B.R.A., T.I. aims to remind rap fans that as one of the best to ever do it, he can rap alongside anyone. For the two years fans have waited for another full project, T.I. rewards us with a healthy 20 songs. There are even more guests credited than tracks, the MC calling on an extensive list of voices from the many regions and subsets of contemporary rap. There are Atlanta superstars Young Thug, Lil Baby, and 21 Savage; living legend and pop culture icon Snoop Dogg; Detroit upstart 42 Dugg; Sacramento striver Mozzy; Buffalo-hailing NYC rap traditionalists Benny the Butcher and Conway the Machine; and Miami luxury rap specialist Rick Ross, to name a few. There are also appearances from T.I.’s son Domani (“Family Connect”) and daughter Deyjah (“Deyjah’s Conclusion”). Topically, the The L.I.B.R.A. is just as diverse: T.I. raps about his legacy in rap culture on “Hit Dogs Holla,” spits game to a romantic interest on “Moon Juice,” and opines on a hustler’s integrity on “Respect the Code.” “Pantone Blue” is a moody if not pop-leaning motivational speech, while “Horizons” plays as a particularly funky appeal for knowledge of self within the Black community. He declares himself a legend in the album’s title, and then spends the project's hour-plus run time backing it up.

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