T.I. – No Mercy | Album Review

An album title which is undoubtedly appropriate for Clifford “T.I.” Harris’ latest venture, mercy is something which he will be shown little of by some artists, fans and, more specifically, the law. Another criminal offence has led to Tip facing more time behind bars, putting another setback to the roll of success which he had been gathering within the last few years – but, one of rap’s hottest commodities, he has ensured that his long awaited project (previously named King Uncaged) still gets the green light and aims to win over the sceptics and doubters who may be casting an eye of doubt over his title as ‘King’.

T.I. has never been one to suggest that he walks with a halo above him and ‘Welcome To The World’ justifies this. Blunt, emotionless lyrics are given further emphasis with a hypnotic production which depicts the ‘fickle’ world of fast cars and scandalous women, and Tip’s unapologetic nature is further backed by G.O.O.D Music’s hedonistic leader Kanye West alongside Kid Cudi.

As expected, the soulful, reflective side to T.I. is on show – ‘How Life’s Changed’ is a reminiscent tale with the King of the South Scarface on hand to add some extra O.G. points whilst ‘Castle Walls’ breaks down his life behind the glamorous acquisitions his fame has landed him.

The most hard hitting of his “you-don’t-know-me” tracks is the hook-up with Chris Brown on ‘Get Back Up’. With the beat taking a more caressing direction and CB’s warm vocals on the hook, T.I. is part remorseful-part defiant with regards to his recent arrest, but nevertheless stands as a true highlight.

No Mercy is not an album made up of plea songs – T.I.P brings the lavish, bravado laced joints on board. ‘Strip’ is anything but subtle in its content as Young Dro and Trey Songz boast of their playboy lifestyle and ‘I Can’t Help It’ is so ‘trill’ with T.I. giving a trademark double time performance which overrides the forgettable chorus.

Collaborations are numerous, with his pairing with Pharrell on ‘Amazing’ being arguably the low point of the lot, T.I. drops a couple of gems when paired with the leading names in the game today. ‘That’s All She Wrote’ features another intense Eminem verse which is complimented by Tip’s slick delivery and ‘Poppin’ Bottles’ will have all shoulder leaning to the dope verses of T.I. and Drizzy Drake.

Being that may be the last album from the King until he is once again ‘uncaged’, No Mercy offers a slice of everything which the T.I. faithful are after – that being the swagger and the honesty. Although various tracks find themselves stranded in the lukewarm zone, T.I’s sincerity over his recent failings are uttered with much conviction and spirit. Showing growth in his ability to pen striking songs, this album shows a glimpse of the exceptional material which the man is capable of – even when facing numerous trials.

No Mercy is out now in the US [iTunes; Amazon] and on January 24th in the UK [iTunes; Play; HMV].