On the surface (or pretty much any other level), T.I. and Fall Out Boy don't have much in common. But that hasn't stopped them from joining forces on a new track, which is in line to appear on the rapper's upcoming Paper Trail album.
MTV News listened to a rough demo of the song, tentatively called "Out in the Cold" last week in Los Angeles, and judging from what we heard, fans of both camps are going to be rather surprised by the results.
Starting off with chiming electronic stabs — which Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz likened to "something from 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' " — the song is somber and emotional, loaded with dramatic, crashing guitars, soaring strings and the King of the South's deeply personal lyrics, which detail the trials and tribulations he's endured over the past year.
"Biggie and 'Pac's murders still unsolved/ And you wonder why I got 'em in the car and the trunk," T.I. raps at one point, addressing his arrest on weapons charges late last year. Later in the song, he makes mention of threats against his home and of "tying up [his] family" and adds that, while he's hired security for protection, "What happens when it freezes up again, like it did in Cincinnati?" — a reference to the 2006 shooting death of his friend Philant Johnson in that city.
And while he's defiant throughout, there are also moments where Tip lets his guard down. At another point in the song, he apologizes for his arrest and admits he's done wrong, specifically saying that he "Call[ed] on God" and prayed deeply for forgiveness during his weapons trial.
But the autobiographical stuff doesn't end there. Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump sings the hook on the track, and he plumbs the same depths, bellowing, "I drink to forget/ I write so I never will/ Curse myself/ Down and out for all time/ I'm always leaving you high and dry/ I'm always leaving you out in the cold."
It's all pretty powerful stuff, made even more so by the track itself, which, though it's infused with skittering drum patterns and synthesizers, was actually one that FOB had intended to use on their upcoming album, according to Wentz (though this seems to fly in the face of his earlier, "riff-heavy" description of the record).
"That actually was a part we had written in between Infinity on High and when we went to Chile on tour," Wentz told MTV News. "After hearing about the chance to do a collaboration with someone like T.I., we thought, 'How amazing would it be to send him something with strings and a Danny Elfman-like intro that Patrick came up with?' Lyrically you can take it as [being about] a friend, a lover or even a fan."
A spokesperson for T.I.'s label, Atlantic, confirmed to MTV News that "Out in the Cold" is "in consideration" for Tip's Paper Trail, which hits stores in September. If the song makes the cut, it wouldn't be FOB's first foray into the world of hip-hop. Jay-Z collaborated with them on the opening track to 2006's Infinity on High album, and Stump sang the hook on the Roots' "Birthday Girl," though that song ended up being cut from the group's Rising Down album.