In addition to being a Chris Brown album, F.A.M.E.* can be fleeting. Once the two most popular rappers in Atlanta, both Young Jeezy and T.I. have lost their foothold in the rap market lately. T.I.P.’s status crumbled due to his legal problems, Jeezy’s by a less tangible fault—struggling to make music that connects with people. It’s hard to pinpoint where exactly he went wrong. Maybe it was his willing regression back into the Thug Motivation series. TM101 is arguably the best trap rap album of its time but it’s unclear why he felt a need to revisit the concept after the well received The Recession showed such a maturation beyond it. And maybe that’s why the subdued Justice League-produced “F.A.M.E.” kinda works for him. Though it’s the next single from TM103 (which still doesn’t have a solid release date), it’s a return to the same fist to the heavens zone he was in on Recession‘s best cuts. T.I. never needed much prodding to explore that territory and he sounds good doing so here, if far from his “Still Ain’t Forgave Myself” days.
* For Chris it meant “Forgiving All My Enemies” or “Fans Are My Everything” (I googled that, I don’t just know those off the top of my head). For Jeezy and Tip it’s a less redemptive “Fake Ass Motherfuckers Envy.” If you were to ask RZA in 1997 he probably would’ve thrown an entirely different backronym at the word for each day of the week.
Download: Young Jeezy f. TI.., “F.A.M.E”