T.I. won't be around this week to celebrate the release of his new album, No Mercy due to his 11-month prison stint on a probation violation, but the King of the South left behind an emotionally gripping clip to tide fans over.
The video for the album's title track opens with a trenchcoat-and-sunglasses-wearing Tip solemnly getting out of his black Ferrari in front of a church while the song's melancholy piano intro plays behind him. As he removes his shades to enter the house of worship and put his hands together in prayer, the grinding guitar-infused track heats up, and we see images of the rapper and The-Dream standing against an ethereal, "magic hour" sunset.
The theme of redemption and transgression is quickly slammed home as Dream croons, "There's no mercy for me/ No crying myself to sleep ... good morning, reality," in front of a stained-glass window with bright sunlight streaming through it. Tip, meanwhile, looks alternately relaxed and humble over the course of the bare-bones performance clip, which cuts between scenes of him sitting in the pews, standing in the church aisle and reciting his lyrics on a hilltop.
As will likely be the case with many of the lyrics on the album, T.I.'s verses take on an ironic twist in light of the fact that he is currently back in prison. Recorded after his release from a year-long sentence earlier this year, tied to his 2007 felony gun possession charge, No Mercy drops on Tuesday as the rapper sits in the same prison, serving an 11-month sentence for violating his probation.
"Trapped in a vicious circle/ Jesus' youngest disciple/ Tell the judge if he throwed the book at me/ Make it the Bible," he raps at the outset of the song. After later comparing himself to late rapper Tupac Shakur — who also released an album while incarcerated — and noting how much fans missed the star once he was gone, T.I. adds, "Hindsight 20/20/ Future not as clear/ But I'm a rider til I die."
The fade-out comes as The-Dream croons the song's angelic chorus again, and the pair take turns standing in front of the shimmering stained glass window while pensively looking out from behind dark shades.
What do you think of the "No Mercy" video?