TI is putting the finishing touches on his new album (due in March), and he flew out to NYC this week to work on some tracks with Swizz Beats. Better still, he invited us to sneak a listen to some of the 30 tracks already recorded, and now we can share some of the highlights with all you good people of the interweb.
Three of the new songs were Mannie Fresh beats - good timing! One is perhaps Fresh's dirtiest, fuzziest production yet ("I'm bumpin Goodie Mob's Soul Food..." proclaims Tip on the track), another is built off little more than Mannie's signature drumrolls and some video game samples (we were debating whether it was Galaga or Defender), and a third updates UGK's "Front, Back, And Side To Side" with Fresh scratching Pimp C's voice on the chorus and kicking the drums up a few hundred decibels.
The Texas tribute fits, since a strong weed smoke/church organ Ridin Dirty vibe is present throughout many of the new songs. TI has always excelled on his slow-ride album cuts, and the new record (in un-finished, un-finalized form, anyway) offers him ample opportunity to do it again. State Prop beatmaker Chad "Wes" Hamilton offers up a soul-sampling heater for Tip to talk about teenage trapping in the Summer of '96 ("Check my credentials!"), and North Carolina producer Keith Mac brings out the woodgrain instrumentation for "Ride With Me", which has already leaked to mixtapes and is starting to rack up a grip of unsolicited radio spins.
Longtime collaborator DJ Toomp checks in for two cuts, all menacing synth fanfare and A-Town stomp, and Grand Hustle producer KO goes throwback with some Crystal Waters-worthy house music keyboards (yes, our eyes bugged out when we heard it, too) on "Why You Wanna Go And Do That", right before the Rubberband Man offers to "kiss you between your knees and your waist" - and he even references "Find A Way" on the hook. There's also a Pharell-helmed leftover from the Urban Legend sessions, an ode to the good life featuring weirdly jazzy Skateboard P piano chords and doubled-up handclaps.
TI has another Neptunes session scheduled for next week, as well as a somewhat surprising collab with Rick Rubin. Just don't expect "100 Problems" - instead, after hitting it off at an earlier meeting, Rubin promises to deliver TI a screwed track "like nothing that's ever been done before," and the two are due to meet up in Cali to work on it before the year is out. We can't wait.