|Studio album by T.I.|
|Released||October 9, 2001|
|Genre||Southern hip hop, trap|
|Producer||Clifford "T.I." Harris (exec.), DJ Toomp, Craig Love, Maseo, Brian Kidd, The Neptunes, Jazze Pha, Yung D, Lil Jon|
|Singles from I'm Serious|
I'm Serious is the debut studio album by American rapper T.I., released on October 9, 2001 through Arista Records. The album spawned the eponymous single, which featured Jamaican reggae entertainer Beenie Man. His debut single, "I'm Serious," was released on June 26, 2001. The single received little airplay and failed to chart. Mack 10 & Big Gipp of Goodie Mob make cameo appearances in the music video.
The album included guests appearances from Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes (who called him "the Jay-Z of the South"), Jazze Pha, Too Short, Bone Crusher, Lil Jon, Mac Boney, Pastor Troy, P$C and Youngbloodz. The album featured production from DJ Toomp, Craig Love, Maseo, Brian Kidd, The Neptunes, Jazze Pha, Yung D, Lil Jon and T.I. himself.
Despite the album's guests appearances and production team, the album peaked at number 98 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, and only sold 163,000 copies in the United States. Upon its release, critics pointed to the fact that many of the tracks sounded the same and that a few were blatant rip-offs. Other critics commented saying, "T.I. claims to be the king of the South, but fails to show and prove. He does, however, have potential. If his talent ever matches his confidence, he may just be headed for stardom."
Due to the poor commercial reception of the album, T.I. asked for a joint venture deal with Arista Records or be released from his contract; he was subsequently dropped from the label. It is his lowest-selling album to date with only 268,000 copies sold.
T.I. was born Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. on September 25, 1980, in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of the late Clifford "Buddy" Harris Sr. and Violeta Morgan. He was raised by his grandparents in Bankhead, Atlanta, Georgia. He lived in a family that existed in a constant struggle to survive. In an article for the America's Intelligence Wire, he described them as hustlers: "When I say hustle, I don't mean necessarily broke the law and sold drugs but, I mean that they didn't know where their next check was coming from. They had to get theirs day by day, and they got it, some more than others." His father lived in New York and he would often go up there to visit him. His father suffered from Alzheimer's and later died from the disease. T.I. was interested in rap music at the young age of seven, and found that he could entertain his relatives and feel included. T.I. began rapping at age nine. He was making demos of his music by age ten or eleven. But street life interfered, and by age 14 he was dealing drugs and had been arrested numerous times. He attended Douglass High School, but later dropped out. As a teenager, he was a drug dealer. He was once known as Rubber Band Man, a reference to the custom of wearing rubber bands around the wrist to denote wealth in terms of drugs or money because they would be used for stacking thousands of dollars in a single rubber band. By age 14, he had been arrested several times. He was nicknamed "Tip" after his paternal great-grandfather. Despite the troublesome upbringing, T.I. was still drawn to music. He got a manager and was heard in an audition by Kawan "KP" Prather, a record executive, better known in the music business as K.P., who was working on a spin-off of Arista Records called Ghet-O-Vision Entertainment discovered T.I.. After the audition, T.I. was quickly signed when he was a teenager. Upon signing with Arista Records a subsidiary of LaFace Records in 1999, he shortened his name to T.I. out of respect for label mate Q-Tip.
The central theme of the album is T.I.'s arrival on the rap scene, which is particularly evident in songs like the eponymous "I'm Serious" that focus on boasts about his own rapping prowess. Although he starts out the album with an intro alluding to his prowess as a Pimp, Drug dealer, and Hustler, T.I.'s storytelling ability is on full display in the album's first song Still Ain't Forgave Myself in which he illuminates the life experiences that led to his current position. Even though most of the other cuts on I'M SERIOUS find him reveling in that role, T.I. possesses the narrative skill, dramatic overview, and low-key delivery that allow his gangsta boasts to go down easily. Chooz U and the Too Short collaboration Hotel are two other songs where T.I.'s rapping ability shines in the album, and the beats help emphasize his ability. He is also very aware of his roots on the album, as references to various locales in Atlanta, Georgia like Campbellton Road, Old National, Bankhead and College Park, Georgia are scattered throughout the album.
Prior to the album's release T.I confirmed that guests on the album would include Mac Boney, Pharrell Williams, Too Short, P$C, Bone Crusher, YoungBloodZ, Pastor Troy and Lil Jon. The album also featured production from various artists including DJ Toomp, Craig Love, Maseo, Brian Kidd, The Neptunes, Jazze Pha, Yung D, Lil Jon and T.I. himself. The album's production is one of its strongest points with an abnormally strong cast of producers for an underground rapper's debut album.
Singles and notable songs
The first and only single of the album "I'm Serious" was released on June 26, 2001 and failed to make the Billboard Hot 100. The single was produced by The Neptunes and it features Beenie Man. The single had little airplay and failed to chart. The label declined to release a second single; however T.I. created a video for "Dope Boyz"that was released only to YouTube. The single was produced by DJ Toomp, and it also failed to chart. T.I. then enlisted Foxy Brown for a remix titled "Dope Boyz, Dope Girlz" that appeared on various mixtapes, including P$C's In Da Streets Vol. 3.
The song "Still Ain't Forgave Myself" was performed for the first time during T.I.'s VH1 Storytellers episode, nearly ten years after the album's release.
Release and reception
I'm Serious was released on October 9, 2001 through Arista Records in the United States. In its first week of release, I'm Serious made its debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart at number 98, and it debuted at number 27 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album only sold 163,000 copies in the United States. Due to the poor commercial reception of the album, T.I. was dropped from Arista Records. It is his lowest-selling album to date with only 268,000 copies sold.
Upon its release, I'm Serious received generally mixed to favorable reviews from most music critics. Some critics pointed to the fact that many of the tracks sounded the same and that a few were blatant rip-offs. Allmusic writer Jon Azpiri wrote "T.I. claims to be the king of the South, but on I'm Serious he fails to show and prove. He does, however, have potential. If his talent ever matches his confidence, he may be headed for stardom." Down-South gave the album a four out of five stars saying "With his solo finally about to drop, this album should be his gateway into the mainstream arena. Overall, this album is all I expected plus more. I don't seen how anyone couldn't like it because it's comprised of so much diversity. So when you see this album on store shelves, be sure to grab it, you won't be disappointed."
HipHopDX wrote "Lyrically, Atlanta-bred T.I. (TIP to kids around the way) isn't far behind a lot of other gifted young cats tryin' to make it in the rap game. But rather than doing stand-up on the mic or seeing how many words he can rhyme with Versaci, this 20-year-old tells wonderfully-detailed stories on I'm Serious about coming up when all the elements try to keep you down. But T.I.'s at his best when he uses his head and not his, well, head. Similarly, I'm Serious gets it done by talking about familiar hip hop topics (gats, girls and makin' green), but doing it in a way that somehow comes off as fresh and original." Rhapsody writer Sam Chennault wrote "The opening salvo from one of Southern hip-hop's most charismatic emcees, I'm Serious is more introspective and less bombastic than T.I.'s subsequent work. "Still Ain't Forgave Myself" and "What Happened" are surprisingly tender, though "Dope Boyz" and the Neptunes-produced "What's Your Name" set the stage for the emergence of T.I.'s playa/pusha persona."
|2.||"Still Ain't Forgave Myself"||Craig Love||5:33|
|3.||"Dope Boyz"||DJ Toomp||4:24|
|5.||"You Ain't Hard" (featuring Mac Boney)||Brian Kidd||4:05|
|6.||"Why I'm Serious" (Interlude)||DJ Toomp||1:03|
|7.||"I'm Serious" (featuring Beenie Man)||The Neptunes||3:27|
|8.||"Do It (Stick It Baby)"||DJ Toomp, T.I.||3:56|
|9.||"What's Yo Name" (featuring Pharrell)||The Neptunes||3:52|
|10.||"Hands Up"||Brian Kidd||4:31|
|11.||"Chooz U" (featuring Jazze Pha)||Jazze Pha||3:31|
|12.||"I Can't Be Your Man"||Brian Kidd,TJ Garner||4:39|
|13.||"Hotel" (featuring Too $hort)||Maestro||5:04|
|14.||"At the Bar"||Brian Kidd, Yung D||3:49|
|15.||"Heavy Chevys" (featuring P$C)||DJ Toomp||4:46|
|18.||"I'm Serious" (Remix) (featuring YoungBloodZ, Bone Crusher & Pastor Troy)||Lil Jon||5:33|
- Sample credits
|US Billboard 200||98|
|US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||27|
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- Ian Purdy- Drums