Editors’ Notes The thing about T.I. isn’t just that he’s a great rapper; it’s that he has range. One of the first artists to bring trap to a national stage, he can play the cold-hearted paper-counting hustler with unnerving smoothness. But he also parlayed his entrepreneurial tough talk into big-tent, genuinely inspirational pop tracks that never sounded like they were trying too hard to cross over. The King of the South? When he rapped as much in 2006, definitely. If anything, though, the tracks here helped break down the (often condescending) barriers that made “rap” one thing and “Southern rap” something else, paving the way for a generation of artists whose success knew no particular jurisdiction, taking something that started out regional and making the whole world listen.

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Featured Artists

  • T.I.
  • JAY-Z