"Live Your Life" is a song by American rapperT.I., from his sixth studio album, Paper Trail (2008), and features Barbadian singer Rihanna. It was released as the seventh single from the album on September 23, 2008. The song is a conscious hip hop track with elements of contemporary R&B. The song's lyrics speak of T.I.'s rise to fame and optimism of the future. It also gives dedication to the American troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Live Your Life" was a commercial success worldwide. In the United States, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100, marking T.I.'s third number-one single, and Rihanna's fifth. The song also attained top ten placements in twelve other countries, reaching the top five in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, "Live Your Life" topped the US Mainstream Top 40 and Rap Songs charts and reached number two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The song remains T.I.'s highest charting and most successful single worldwide since its release.
The song's accompanying music video, directed by Anthony Mandler, depicts a story of T.I.'s rise to fame in a narrated form, featuring Rihanna performing in a dressing room and bar. The duo performed "Live Your Life" at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. The song is featured in the 2009 film The Hangover as well as the trailer.
"Live Your Life" was written by T.I. Dan Balan, Justin Smith, and Makeba Riddick whilst being produced by Just Blaze and Riddick. T.I. explained Rihanna's incorporation progress into the song to Artist Direct, "It was a back and forth studio thing with Rihanna. I picked her. I was just able to 'hear' her voice on this record. I could hear her, so I reached out and she said, 'Yes,' thankfully." The song borrows lyrics from O-Zone's 2003 song "Dragostea Din Tei", which was further made famous by the Numa Numa Internet meme.
The first unfinished version of "Live Your Life" leaked onto the Internet on August 26, 2008. The official mastered album version, which has Rihanna's own verse, and T.I.'s dedication to soldiers on the Iraqi battlefield (on the first part, he told "Ay... This a special what's haapnin' to all my, all my soldiers over there in Iraq. Errbody right here, what you need to do is be thankful for the life you got you know what I'm sayin'? Stop lookin' at what you ain't got, start and be thankful for what you do got. Let's give it to 'em baby girl"). The radio edit lasts for a duration of 4:01, while the album version is 5:39 long, including extended verses from Rihanna. "Live Your Life" was released in the United States on September 23, 2008. A worldwide release of the song followed on September 26 as a digital download via iTunes.
Alex Fletcher of Digital Spy awarded "Live Your Life" two out of five stars saying, "While some will be charmed by T.I's well-meaning lyrics and Rihanna's hypnotic chorus hooks, others will find the mixture of samples and robotic effects grating. Our view? Well, hats off to Rihanna for finally taking time out from mining her Good Girl Gone Bad album, but it's a shame she had to waste her break on a naff novelty release like this." Bill Lamb from About.com gave the song a more positive review, giving the song four and a half out of five stars and commenting, "Most pop fans are likely to either love it or hate it. Either way, it draws strong attention to this upbeat answer to critics and fans on the trials and tribulations of rapper T.I.." He continued by naming Rihanna's contribution as one of the most instantly memorable pop sounds of 2008.
In the United States, "Live Your Life" debuted at number 80 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the chart week of October 11, 2008. The song surged to number one the following week, setting a record for the highest jump to number one in history, a feat previously set by T.I. himself six weeks prior with his song "Whatever You Like" that jumped from number 71 to number one on the chart. However, this record was broken again the following week by Britney Spears' "Womanizer" that jumped from number 96 to one. The song marked T.I.'s second Hot 100 number one as a lead artist, and third overall, while it became Rihanna's fifth chart topper. With the latter, Rihanna became the first female artist to have five number ones in the 21st century. In addition, "Live Your Life" replaced "Whatever You Like" at number one on the Hot 100, making T.I. the ninth artist to replace themselves at number one in the history of the chart. "Whatever You Like" simultaneously occupied the number two position on the chart that week, marking the first time an artist has held the top two positions since Akon in 2006. "Live Your Life" had three separate runs at number one on the Hot 100. Prior to this, the only other songs to have three separate turns at the top had been "Le Freak" by Chic in late 1978 and early 1979 plus two other 2008 chart-toppers, Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" and T.I's own "Whatever You Like".
For the issue dated December 6, 2008, "Live Your Life" topped the US Pop Songs chart, marking T.I.'s first ever number one single on the chart, and Rihanna's fourth. The single held the top spot for six non-consecutive weeks. The song also topped the Rap Songs chart for ten consecutive weeks. The song entered the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart as the week's "Hot Shot Debut" at number 77. The following week, it rose to number 38. After ten weeks on the chart, the song made a final peak of number two, where it remained for ten consecutive weeks, being barred from the top spot by Beyoncé's hit single "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)". The song was certified triple-platinum by the RIAA certification, and it has sold 4,532,000 copies in the US. The song also peaked at number four on the Canadian Hot 100.
In New Zealand, "Live Your Life" debuted at number 23 on October 6, 2008. It entered the top ten in its third week on the chart, steadily rising over the following weeks culminating in its number two peak on December 8, 2008. The song was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand for sales of 15,000 copies. On the Australian Singles Chart, the song debuted at number 48 on October 26, 2008. By its fourth week, it had reached the top ten of the chart. The song reached its peak of number three on December 21, where it remained for four consecutive weeks. It received a Platinum certification from the Australian Recording Industry Association for sales of 70,000 copies.
In the United Kingdom, "Live Your Life" entered the UK Singles Chart at number 39 for the week dated November 15, 2008. The following week, it surged to number two, automatically becoming T.I.'s highest charting single in the country. It also gave Rihanna her sixth top two single on the chart. The song debuted at number three on the Irish Singles Chart, giving T.I. his highest charting single in the country. It also gave Rihanna her tenth top ten in the region.
T.I. and Rihanna in a split screen showing four instances from the music video of "Live Your Life"
The music video for "Live Your Life" was filmed in October 2008 in Los Angeles and was directed by Anthony Mandler. The video, using the radio edit of the song, stars T.I. and Rihanna. It plays backwards, starting with the end of T.I.'s day. In the opening scene T.I. is shown walking with bloody wounds culminating in the song beginning. It then goes from a series of underground shots of him with interspersed scenes of Rihanna in a dressing room. T.I. is then shown being thrown out of a car, being kicked by a large man. The video then cuts again to the day with T.I. wearing the same suit seen earlier in the video, but undamaged. He then encounters a group of thugs whom he brawls with. The video then begins a different story arc, showing T.I. before he made his fortune, singing in a recording studio and in front of a house playing dice and dominoes with friends. This portion of the video is interspersed with clips of the other story arc, such as showing T.I. with a briefcase full of money. He is then shown in the bathroom of a bar, before walking out into the bar passing Rihanna who has exited her dressing room. Rihanna performs on stage with a microphone while T.I. talks to a man saying "[he] want[s] out."; the man replies by explaining that there is no getting out, not for him nor for the character that Rihanna plays. T.I slams the money briefcase down on the table and shows it to the man saying that "I'm done. I got myself here, I'll get myself out". Then he is seen walking into that same bar, in a flashback, with a CD in his hand. The man that T.I. spoke to earlier calls him over. This is a flashback showing T.I. trying to get a record deal. The last shot of the video takes place at around the same time as the first shot of the video. T.I. is walking down the Los Angeles River, raising his hands triumphantly in the air with a bloodied and scarred face. The song's producer, Just Blaze, is briefly seen playing pool in the bar during the second verse and final chorus.