Urban Legend (album)

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Urban Legend
Studio album by T.I.
Released November 30, 2004
Recorded 2004
Genre Southern hip hop
Length 71:35
Label Grand Hustle, Atlantic
Producer Clifford "T.I." Harris (exec.), Jason Geter (exec.), DJ Toomp, Daz Dillinger, Jazze Pha, Lil Jon, Kevin "Khao" Cates, KLC, Mannie Fresh, The Neptunes, Nick "Fury" Loftin, Sanchez Holmes, Scott Storch, Swizz Beatz, David Banner
T.I. chronology
Trap Muzik
(2003)
Urban Legend
(2004)
King
(2006)
Singles from Urban Legend
  1. "Bring Em Out"
    Released: October 19, 2004
  2. "U Don't Know Me"
    Released: January 11, 2005
  3. "ASAP"
    Released: May 24, 2005

Urban Legend is the third studio album by American rapper T.I., released on November 30, 2004, through Grand Hustle Records and Atlantic Records. The album debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200, selling 193,000 copies in its first week of release, it charted at number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and at number one on the Top Rap Albums chart.[1]

The album's official lead single, "Bring Em Out", was released on October 19, 2004 and became his first top ten hit, peaking at number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100, while the second single "U Don't Know Me" peaked at number twenty-three on the Billboard Hot 100. His third single "ASAP" reached number 75 on the U.S. charts,[2] number 18 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts[2] and number 14 on the Hot Rap Tracks.[2] T.I. created a video for "ASAP"/"Motivation". However, "Motivation" only made it to number 62 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[2]

The album features production provided by long time collaborating Producers DJ Toomp, Jazze Pha, Lil Jon, The Neptunes, Nick "Fury" Loftin, David Banner and Sanchez Holmes. New Producers contributing to the album include Daz Dillinger, Kevin "Khao" Cates, KLC, Mannie Fresh, Scott Storch and Swizz Beatz. Featured guests on the album include Trick Daddy, Nelly, Lil Jon, B.G., Mannie Fresh, Daz Dillinger, Lil Wayne, Pharrell Williams, P$C, Jazze Pha and Lil' Kim.

Upon its release, Urban Legend received generally favorable reviews from most music critics, where most music critics saw it as another major improvement.

The Recording Industry Association of America has certified the album platinum, with over 1,000,000 copies shipped in the United States alone.[3]

Background[edit]

T.I. went through big ups and big downs after the release of 2003's success Trap Muzik. Right after watching two successive singles "24's" and "Rubber Band Man" become the most successful hits of his career including the other two hits "Be Easy" and "Let's Get Away", he was put behind bars for violating probation that resulted from a 1997 arrest on cocaine distribution and the manufacturing and distribution of a controlled substance.[4] In March 2004, a warrant was issued for T.I.'s arrest after he violated his probation of a 1997 drug conviction. He was sentenced to three years in prison.[5] While imprisoned in Cobb County, Georgia, he filmed an unauthorized music video.[6] One month later, he was allowed a work release program.[7] T.I. was on probation stemming from a 1998 conviction for violating a state controlled substances act and for giving false information. After being released on probation, he earned a litany of probation violations in several counties around Georgia for offenses ranging from possession of a firearm to possession of marijuana.[5]

Recording[edit]

After he received a three-year prison sentence, only to be granted a work release program that allowed him to continue making music he proceeded to record several albums' worth of material. Recording sessions took place at P.S. West Studios, at Silent Sounds Studios, and at Stankonia Studios which all three of them took place at Atlanta, Georgia T.I.'s hometown. With only one recording session taking place at The Orange Grove Studios which is located in Los Angeles, California.[8]

Music[edit]

Production[edit]

Production for the album would be contributed by long time collaborating Producers DJ Toomp, Jazze Pha, Lil Jon, The Neptunes, Nick "Fury" Loftin, David Banner and Sanchez Holmes. New Producers to contribute to the album would inclued Daz Dillinger, Kevin "Khao" Cates, KLC, Mannie Fresh, Scott Storch and Swizz Beatz.

Guests[edit]

T.I. confirmed that featured guests on the album would include Trick Daddy, Nelly, Lil Jon, B.G., Mannie Fresh, Daz Dillinger, Lil Wayne, Pharrell Williams, P$C, Jazze Pha and Lil' Kim.

Content[edit]

With Trap Muzik, rapper T.I. boldly established himself as a young rapper to watch and a sought-after guest artist. As if to cement his stardom, T.I. opens his third record, Urban Legend, with one of the most famous declarations in the history of hip-hop, Run–D.M.C.'s "I'm the kiiiing," building the assured track ("Tha King") around a sleek "Hit It Run" sample. On that song, T.I. wanders around the rap iconography of the South, asserting himself the new leader and claiming that his ascendance came without the aid of major guest appearances on his previous album.

On ‘Motivation’, T.I. spits with focus over high-powered flutes, produced by DJ Toomp, warning others he is at his prime. The thunderous sounds on ‘U Don't Know Me' show the raw, gritty charisma of the ATL native, whilst on ‘Get Loose’ featuring Nelly, having Jazze Pha behind the boards attempts to create the next ‘Tip Drill’ anthem. Showing maturity and development from ‘Trap Muzik’, T.I. opens up with composure on ‘Prayin for Help’, on which he humbly confesses his difficulty of making it over the mellow beat.

On the lead single ‘Bring Em Out’, Swizz Beats speeds up a Jay-Z sample used on the hook, creating an East Coast-sounding hit. Even though the lead single does not compare to the main hit ‘Rubberband Man’ on ‘Trap Muzik’, the track will do enough to move feet in clubs. On ‘Chilling with my B****’, T.I. creates a laid-back atmosphere through his flamboyant rhymes for his lady, on a track which also features the smooth vocals of Jazze Pha on the hook, over the calm Caribbean sounds of Scott Storch (Fat Joe’s ‘Lean Back’), as both Jazz and T.I. repeat the sounds of ‘Let's Get Away’ on his previous album. The ‘Rubberband Man’ continues to boast on ‘The Greatest’ over the 808 drums of Mannie Fresh, whilst Daz Dillinger, the man behind many of Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur’s hits back in the Deathrow days, helps T.I. on the slick ‘My Life’, creating that West Coast groove. The King of Crunk assists T.I. on ‘Stand Up’, as T.I., Trick Daddy and Lil Wayne rhyme over a unique Lil Jon beat.

However, with the pointless meaning and generic sounds on ‘Get Yo S*** Together’ featuring Lil' Kim, T.I. does stumble in places on the album, just like he does with the commercial sounds on The Neptunes-produced ‘Freak Though’ featuring a very high-pitched Pharrell, (who shows no signs of killing a hook like he did on Jay-Z’s ‘Excuse Me Miss’ and his own ‘Frontin'). Throughout the album, T.I. unleashes his brash swagger, and his delivery brims with an earnest confidence. Urban Legend reveals a rapper comfortable in his game, both riding solo and bouncing his rhymes off of others.

Concept[edit]

Confidence is what runs T.I. back and forth in this rap game, and with his self-proclaimed ‘King of Da South’ status, who would argue at what the Atlanta native is saying? With his critically acclaimed 2003 album ‘Trap Muzik’, the young rookie has not been afraid to express who he is, as he smoothly spits ‘Seven time felon/ What I care about a case, man’ on the David Banner-produced ‘Rubberband Man’. However, with the competition rising in the form of Houston’s Lil’ Flip, T.I.’s self proclamation of his ‘King’ status was severely questioned. With his release from prison a few months ago, and the bubbling down of his publicised “beef” with Lil' Flip, the question and concept on the album was if T.I. could the Atlanta-born rapper’s third release ‘Urban Legend’ be the indication for him to be officially crowned ‘King of Da South’.[8]

Release and promotion[edit]

Singles[edit]

"Bring Em Out" was the first official single to be released from Urban Legend. The single entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 9, it charted at number 6 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and at number 4 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. In the United Kingdom the single entered the UK Singles Chart at number 59.[9] He used a vocal sample from Jay-Z's "What More Can I Say" from The Black Album to create the hook. "Bring Em Out" became T.I.'s first top 10 single to enter the Billboard Hot 100. The song was produced by Swizz Beatz and written by T.I.. The song was featured extensively during the 2006 NBA Finals as the theme song for the Miami Heat during player introductions. "Bring Em Out" is featured on the unofficial remix for the Britney Spears song "Gimme More". T.I. sang this on an episode of "The O.C." (The Return of the Nana) and the song appeared in an episode of the hit HBO series Entourage during Season 2. "Bring Em Out" is always played at New Jersey Nets games, when the players come through the tunnel. It is also always played at Rutgers football games. It was one of the first singles from T.I. to chart on the R&R mainstream top 40 chart. Swizz Beatz also provided some vocals for the song but is only credited for production. The Recording Industry Association of America certified the single Gold.

"U Don't Know Me" was the second official single from the album. The single entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 23, it charted at number 6 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, it charted at number 4 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart, and at number 65 on the Pop 100 chart.[10] The single can be heard in the background of the video for T.I.'s 2008 hit "Live Your Life" at the end while he is in the bar repaying the men that he owes. The song was nominated on several awards such as "Best Rap Solo Performance" on the Grammy Awards, "Best Rap Video" on the MTV Video Music Awards and "Street Anthem of the Year" on the Vibe Awards.[11] The song appears on the Video game Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition. The Recording Industry Association of America certified the single Platinum.

"ASAP" was the third and final official single from the album. The single entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 75, it charted at number 18 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and at number 14 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart.[12] The song appears on the Video game Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition. The official remix features Big Kuntry King & Mac Boney of P$C. The song is considered a diss track towards fellow Southern rapper Lil Flip. The Recording Industry Association of America certified the single Gold.[13] On the B-side of the single the song "Motivation" appeared and it charted at number 62 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[12]

Reception[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

Urban Legend debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200, selling over 193,000 copies in its first week of release, it charted at number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and at number one on the Top Rap Albums chart.[1] The album has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, for shipments of one million copies in the United States.[3]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[14]
Baltimore City Paper (mixed)[15]
Entertainment Weekly B+[16]
Prefix (7/10)[17]
RapReviews (8/10)[18]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[19]

Upon its release, Urban Legend received generally favorable reviews from most music critics. Allmusic writer Andy Kellman had this to say about the album "With all that chaos surrounding T.I., it's disappointing to hear him retracing his steps, rewriting old lines, developing with little progress. Perhaps it's asking too much to expect T.I. to show as much growth here as he did on Trap Muzik, but -- as is the case with Jadakiss -- remaining patient for that classic album (and you know he has one in him) is getting tough."[14] Entertainment Weekly noted "T.I. recorded Urban Legend while in a work release program for probation violation. But judging by his grudge-laden approach, he's addressing other violations as well — namely, claims by fellow Southern rappers that they're superior. Backed by synths for a sound he regards as counter-crunk, he lays out his defense in lyrical volleys aimed at rivals like Ludacris, and when he declares I'm the King, you just about believe him."[16] Tom Breihan of the Baltimore City Paper stated, "T.I.’s flow is more focused and confident than it was on his 2003 breakthrough, Trap Muzik [...] But nothing on Legend can compete with the gloriously sunny candy-crunk Muzik hit 'Rubber Band Man,' and the new album feels like a thrown-together collection instead of a unified work."[15]

Prefix stated, "When T.I. anointed himself "King of da South," it was more than just an ego trip; it was a strategic move to generate exposure and controversy. Until T.I., no emcee had dared to stake a claim to that lyrical throne, long held by H-town's Scarface. Call it delusions of grandeur, but the man has the lyrical skills of Scarface and star power of Ludacris. And his risk has paid off, leading to a guest appearance on Destiny's Child's "Soldier" and spots on the covers of Vibe and Elemental magazines. His third LP is the tale of two emcees: the Bankhead hustler eloquently scribing the trap (drug dealing) game and the Urban Legend looking to take his regional fame national. T.I. may have conquered the hearts and minds of the street, but his goal with Urban Legends is to develop a sound that will bring in mainstream dollars. T.I. may have ambitions of a rap takeover, but without a viable crossover hit the mainstream will remain out of his grasp. It may seem trivial that T.I. anointed himself king, but it brings a tremendous amount of pressure to prove haters wrong and defend the crown from would-be challengers. Fear not: T.I.'s confidence and arrogance is thick as a bulletproof vest, and the man is plotting for Jay-Z's number-one spot. Don't say I didn't warn you. Laugh now and cry later."[17] Steve 'Flash' Juon of RapReviews had this to say about the album "If he can stay clean and out of prison (good for a buzz but bad for career longevity, knahmean) there seems to be no limit to how far he can go."[18]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "Tha King"   Nick "Fury" Loftin 3:24
2. "Motivation"   DJ Toomp 3:34
3. "U Don't Know Me"   DJ Toomp 4:03
4. "ASAP"   Sanchez Holmes 4:44
5. "Prayin for Help"   Sanchez Holmes 4:22
6. "Why U Mad at Me"   Kevin "Khao" Cates 3:53
7. "Get Loose" (featuring Nelly) Jazze Pha 4:12
8. "What They Do" (featuring B.G.) KLC 3:48
9. "The Greatest" (featuring Mannie Fresh) Mannie Fresh 4:22
10. "Get Ya Sh*t Together" (featuring Lil' Kim) Scott Storch 4:05
11. "Freak Though" (featuring Pharrell) The Neptunes 3:43
12. "Countdown"   David Banner 4:55
13. "Bring Em Out"   Swizz Beatz 3:36
14. "Limelight" (featuring P$C) Khao 5:03
15. "Chillin with My B*tch" (featuring Jazze Pha) Scott Storch 3:56
16. "Stand Up" (featuring Lil Jon, Trick Daddy & Lil Wayne) Lil Jon 4:42
17. "My Life" (featuring Daz Dillinger) Daz Dillinger 5:13

Samples[edit]

"Tha King"

  • "King Of Rock" and "Hit It Run" by Run-DMC

"Prayin for Help"

"Why U Mad at Me"

"Bring Em Out"

  • "What More Can I Say" by Jay-Z

"Limelight"

  • "I'll Never Let You Go" by Leon Sylvers

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Urban Legend adapted from Allmusic.[21]

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hasty, Katie. "T.I. Rules As 'King' of Album Chart". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Artist Chart History – T.I." on Billboard.com, Neilsen Business Media, Inc., 2008.
  3. ^ a b c "RIAA - Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  4. ^ Patel, Joseph (2004-04-19). "T.I. Hasn't Been Hiding Out Lately — He's Been in Jail". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  5. ^ a b Patel, Joseph (2004-04-21). "'Rubber Band Man' Rapper T.I. Gets Three Years in Prison". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  6. ^ Patel, Joseph (2004-07-09). "T.I. Video Fallout Continues as Control of Jail Is Wrested from Sheriff". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  7. ^ "For the Record: Quick News on Justin Timberlake and Usher, T.I., Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, The Vines & More". MTV News. 2004-05-28. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  8. ^ a b "T I - Urban Legend CD Album". Cduniverse.com. 2004-11-30. Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  9. ^ Allmusic - T.I.Allmusic. Accessed on August 4, 2008
  10. ^ allmusic ((( T.I. > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))
  11. ^ 'U Don't Know Me' - AwardsBillboard. Accessed October 21, 2008
  12. ^ a b allmusic ((( T.I. > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))
  13. ^ RIAA T.I. gold & platinum dataRIAA. Accessed October 11.
  14. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. Review: Urban Legend. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-12-12.
  15. ^ a b Breihan, Tom (December 29, 2004). "T.I. / Urban Legend | Record Review". Baltimore City Paper. Times-Shamrock Communications. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  16. ^ a b Mindenhall, Chuck. Review: Urban Legend. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2010-12-12.
  17. ^ a b Martinez, Rafael. Review: Urban Legend. Prefix Magazine. Retrieved on 2010-12-12.
  18. ^ a b Juon, Steve. Review: Urban Legend. RapReviews. Retrieved on 2010-12-12.
  19. ^ Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone. Review: Urban Legend at the Wayback Machine (archived May 2, 2009). Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2010-12-12.
  20. ^ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/urban-legend-deluxe-edition/id289693717
  21. ^ Credits: Urban Legend. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-12-12.
  22. ^ "Urban Legend – Oricon". Oricon (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-07-05. 
  23. ^ a b c "T.I. Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2010-12-16. 

External links[edit]