"Dead and Gone" is a song by American hip hop recording artist T.I., featuring American singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake. It was released as the fourth single from T.I.'s sixth studio album Paper Trail (2008). Due to high digital download's upon the album's release, the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100, before it's official single release. The song marked the second collaboration between T.I. and Justin Timberlake, the first being hit single, "My Love", from Timberlake's second album FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006). T.I. and Timberlake performed this song at the 51st Grammy Awards. The song was later nominated twice at the 52nd Grammy Awards, for 'Best Rap/Sung Collaboration' and 'Best Rap Song'.
Rob Knox (not to be confused with the murdered actor), one of the producers, expressed his feelings into creating the song.
We were like, this guy's going through a lot with his whole court case situation and his best friend dyin', and everything in the world kind of crumbling in front of him in a way. We [agreed that] it would be real cool and unexpected to give people something a little more heartfelt - not the club, party, typical record that everybody wanted. We even had a feeling that T.I. was gonna mention that, but we already had a plan for him.
In the song, T.I. deals with the death of his best friend and former bodyguard, Philant Johnson, who was killed on May 3, 2006, when T.I.'s crew was caught up in a shooting after a show in Cincinnati that left three injured and Johnson killed. The lyrics include lines such as: "Who ever thought I'd never see Philant no more," and "Big Phil this is for you." Johnson's tombstone is shown in the video.
Sputnik Music was extremely positive: "you can't help but not skip the track. "Dead and Gone" yet another Timberlake / T.I. track is bolstered by its impressive Timberland beat and the fact that ends that album on a very, very strong note."
There are two radio edits. One with the intro and outro cut off, and the explicit words being censored. Another edit, had cut the intro, the first chorus from Justin Timberlake, and the outro of the song, as well as replaced explicit words with less-offensive words.
"Dead And Gone" is set in common time with a tempo of 84 beats per minute and is set in the key of A-minor, with a chord sequence of Am-C-G-F-E.
Before the single was announced, the track debuted on number 76 on the Billboard Hot 100, due to high downloads. Following its official release as a single, in the last week of December it made a re-entry on the chart at number 99 and was able to reach #2, it was not able to succeed Flo Rida's hit single "Right Round" from the top spot for five consecutive weeks, the following week it fell to the number four position and then to number 6. It is T.I.'s fourth consecutive top 5 hit on the Hot 100 from Paper Trail, and seventh of his career as a lead artist. On Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs it has reached #2 so far. The song reached number one on the BillboardHot Rap Tracks and the Hot 100 Airplay chart on the week of March 14, 2009. It also, so far, has peaked to #9 on the BillboardPop 100 Airplay chart and #3 at the BillboardPop 100 chart. As of August 2011, the song has sold over 3,000,000 digital downloads in the US alone. In the United Kingdom, the song made a strong debut at #30 on the UK Singles Chart, and the following week climbed to #17 and peaked at #4. In Canada it debuted at #59 on the Canadian Hot 100 the same week it did as in the U.S., and after its physical release it made a re-entry at #70 and has now peaked at #3.
The video was directed by Chris Robinson and was filmed in the first week of February in Los Angeles, California. The video surfaced on the internet a few hours before the official release date on February 17. In it, T.I. is filmed driving throughout a desert landscape, interspersed with shots of Justin Timberlake standing alone in the desert or playing a piano. T.I. eventually drives up in a '67 Camaro SS and meets with Timberlake and they continue the song together as the camera circles around them. Shortly before the final rendition of the chorus, there is a break in the music and a brief montage of images, with the words "good", "evil", and "redemption", appears. As the song draws to a close, T.I. is seen returning to his car and driving off, leaving Timberlake standing alone once again in the dark, with his piano set ablaze in the background. The very end of the video shows T.I. getting out of the car and entering the prison with the gates closing behind him. This is a cliffhanger that is revealed in "Remember Me".
The video ranked at #34 on BET's Notarized: Top 100 Videos of 2009 countdown.