"I lost my partner and my daughter in the same year/ Somehow, I rise above my problems and remain here."
T.I. has said that his philosophy when dealing with personal strife over the past couple of years has been to "let go, and let God deal with it." He was almost murdered, lost loved ones, had his named sullied by some media outlets and still faces a prison sentence for weapons charges. Professionally, though, the man still has the respect of his peers, the adoration of the fans and, equally important, his cooking in the studio has been as accurate as a Chris Paul pass.
The King of the South has his mind right. He's guilty of grand theft after stealing the show from Young Jeezy and Lupe Fiasco on a remix of Lupe's "Superstar." On that track, Tip batted cleanup, admonishing snitches while flipping Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Do Re Mi." He is also shining on his unofficial remix of Usher's "Love in This Club," which immediately graduated from an Internet leak to radio rotation.
But now, as he promised MTV News just a few weeks ago, it is time for Tip to deliver his own song. The first release off of his upcoming Paper Trail has been long awaited. And Tuesday morning (April 29), the more than six-minute-long "No Matter What" was released on his social-networking site StreetCred.com.
From the onset, he speaks volumes. "Never have you seen in your lifetime, a more divine Southern rapper with a swag like mine," T.I. rhymes over a slow track that features church organs and synths. "Facing all kinds of time but smile like I'm fine ... pain is a small thing to a giant ... Ali said even the greatest gotta suffer sometime."
On the chorus he boldly continues to declare that he will never give up: "I ain't dead, done, I ain't scared, I ain't run/ Still I stand/ No matter what, people, here I am."
As the song goes on, Tip speaks more of his unwavering determination and taunts the peers who were pleased to see him suffer through his recent turmoil. Meanwhile, Tip is carrying out his 1,000 hours of community service, divvying up the rest of his time with his family (he's expecting another child soon) and the fine-tuning of Paper Trail. The album is slated for late summer or early fall.