Atlanta rapper T.I. pushed 500,000 King units the first week, but I don’t think his pro forma rags-or-riches movie debut ATL or America’s boner for all things Southern deserve the credit. Strangely, New York producer Just Blaze made the big cuts here — “King Back,” “I’m Talking to You” — each playing off the album title’s regality with cavernous kick sounds and brassy fanfares daunting enough to make Mike Patton TV themes seem flat and Jeezy’s Thug Motivation flat-out blush. T.I. could always fast-rap, but to my ears he’s never been as much of a punch-line guy until now: “I’m fast as lightnin’ bro/Better use your Nikes bro” is good; “I give it to you straight, nigga/I don’t need a metaphor” is worth a blog post. Never spitting, Tip flows like a glee-club cat: steady breath, and his mouth merely shapes the air. King doesn’t sound too Southern, but the attitude’s here and the anthem “What You Know” could be the year’s best.
T.I. + Young Jock | April 23 | Avalon, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston | 617.228.6000
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