December 21st, 2014
T.I. 'Gets Back Up' as he heads to jail
As Lil Wayne finally makes his way out of Rikers, T.I. heads back to the clink this week, and has a few announcements on his way in.
The rapper and producer returns to prison after violating his probation earlier this year and thus is no longer “Uncaged,” the title he previously gave his forthcoming new album. The set has been re-dubbed “No Mercy” and now will officially be released on Dec. 7, as he serves out his 11-months in California.
As his note of departure, T.I. has unleashed a new track and video, for “Get Back Up” featuring Chris Brown.
It’s less a matter of supporting or opposing when I say this, but more a matter of taste: it’s just wrong to have Chris Brown singing the lines “When they push you down you got to get back up.” It’s not cute or ironic, coming from the lips of a convicted felon who beat up his girlfriend. But the tone of the track has Brown casting Brown as a victim. And hell, same with T.I.
T.I. and Brown call for no “judgement” — of their crimes, especially after they’ve asked forgiveness from fans and media — but as consumers of pop music, we can judge their reactions within their artistic work . Thus, “Get Back Up,” as a pop tune is only sort of catchy but weighed down by the hopeful message mixed in with a defensive one and, given the context of these performers’ perspectives, comes off as cheap and reactive. Chris Brown’s voice still sounds tops, but T.I.’s rhymes are clearly curbed.
No matter. He’s had a slew of hot records that came out all summer, including my favorite “Ya Hear Me.” From his interviews, it sounds like T.I. is willing and prepared to weather another few months in prison, even if this album release suffers for it. There’s no delaying that which wants to be uncaged.