Photo: Grand Hustle
T.I. choosing to release F**k Da City on midnight New Years Eve, while the rest of us were more concerned with getting our party on, is indicative of his hustle since being released from prison last August.
Having put his legal problems behind him and rebuilt a buzz by tearing up guests spots on any tracks he could get his hands on, the new mixtape serves as both a New Year's resolution and a warning to the rest of the industry: the King of the South is back for the crown.
However, the message on F**k Da City is slightly lost under the weight of filler, a result of the 50 or so tracks T.I. has already cut during sessions for his upcoming album Trouble Man, and mediocre guest appearances.
Unsurprisingly the tape's first priority is proving Clifford Harris still has a handle on Southern rap. But, despite T.I.'s best efforts and assistance from Young Jeezy and a posthumous Pimp C verse, the generic production means the first half hour of the tape runs together like one extended trap-rap freestyle.
However, things pick up in the second half, with the radio-ready Trey Songz and Just Blaze-assisted single ‘Oh Yeah’ and T.I. trading immaculate flows with Pusha T over a chopped horn sample on 'I’ll Show You.' The much-anticipated Dr. Dre track 'Popped Off' uses both a recycled beat and guest verse - but the swaggering, dinner-suited party track is a perfect foil.
Judging by the quality of T.I.'s output towards the end of 2011, fans might end up somewhat disappointed by F**k Da City. Still, it's a solid enough effort to hint T.I. is on course to reclaim the throne with his next studio release.