True to Paul Wall's prediction in this week's Mixtape Monday, UGK's Pimp C is already one of 2006's most sought-after artists. Everybody seems to want a verse from Pimp — who was released from a lengthy prison sentence just a couple of weeks ago — and his first raps of the New Year were given to T.I.
The King of the South recently teamed up with the Underground Kingz for a Mannie Fresh-produced remake of UGK's 1994 classic "Front, Back and Side to Side." That is one of the first two singles from T.I.'s next LP, King, which drops on March 28. The other record is a song with the working title "Chirp Back" (T.I.'s camp says the title in all likelihood will be changing), which is produced by DJ Toomp, best known for collaborating on Tip's biggest record to date, "U Don't Know Me."
An earlier version of the new "Front, Back and Side to Side" — minus Pimp C — appears on the new T.I. mixtape with DJ Drama, Gangsta Grillz: The Leak, which came about after several songs from the King sessions leaked onto the Net. Tip decided to take all the bootlegged material and feed the streets; he's insisted that none of the songs on the mixtape will appear on King. Late last year, Tip told MTV News that he's recorded more than 70 songs for the album, and his rep said the MC recently went back into the lab and now has more than 100 songs to choose from.
One person who is excited about his work with Tip is Swizz Beatz, who produced "Bring Em Out" for Tip's 2004 Urban Legend LP.
"I did four songs on the new T.I., that's crazy," Swizz Beatz said recently. "[Particularly] a song called 'I Got That, Get It When You Need.' You know how 'Bring Em Out' brought his sound to a whole 'nother level and it didn't sound like no other artist form the South? This song is like that. It's a little edgy, it's moving away from that [standard Southern] bass and clap, but still keeping him authentic in his 'hood because of how his verses are.
"He's motivated," Swizz added. "He gets a couple of beers in him, puts his tank top on. What I like about Tip is that he's not so gone [i.e. egotistical] where you can't tell him nothing. If you say, 'Do it like this, I need the flow like that,' he like, 'All right, I'll try it. If I don't like it, we'll try something else.' Everything is enhanced as we go along. That's how we got four songs — I'm not talking about four songs in two weeks, I'm talking about four songs in two days."
T.I.'s rep said the MC is still in the process of finding the right mix of songs for the album and, apart from the two aforementioned singles, he's not sure yet which songs will make the cut.
For more on T.I. and the world of Atlanta hip-hop, see "MY Block: Atlanta."