T.I. Fuck Da City Up

T.I. Fuck Da City Up
Watching his buzz slowly fade following flop albums and consecutive prison sentences, T.I. attempts to return to his mixtape roots with Fuck Da City Up. Tip sounds revitalized by A-list collaborators like B.O.B., Young Jeezy, Dr. Dre and Nelly, yet the mixtape lacks the emotional intensity that distinguished his best work. It's still a joy to hear T.I. go for it dolo; he swerves through Mannie Fresh's siren horns and creeping keys on "The One," snarling terse threats with a SAT-level vocabulary. Chemistry with his guests keep things moving, as T.I., Travis Porter and Young Dro blaze their verses over T-Minus's triumphant synth horns on "Hot Wheels." The piping horns on "I'll Show You" light a fire under Pusha T, and Trouble and T.I. complement each other perfectly on "On Purpose." Detox leftover "Popped Off" is a celebratory knocker topped with Dr. Dre's lush samples. If T.I. can maintain this intensity until his next album drops, he'll be in rare form. (Grand Hustle)