Preview: 10 Things We Learned About T.I.’s ‘Paperwork’ LP (Including The Truth About ‘Stay’)


What does T.I. have to say when it comes to a ninth album? At 33 years old and a forefather to the trap sounds that have permeated through Atlanta and now sit more as an overall sound than a soundtrack, there’s still a lot more for T.I. to delve on, whether it be personally or not.

Wednesday he sat attentive, inviting and confident while previewing songs from his upcoming Paperwork: The Motion Picture album. He joked with 93.7 The Beat’s Devi Dev & DJ Mr. Rogers, mimicked Trae Tha Truth’s impossible to miss gruff baritone and answered a few fan questions, including one from a rower to which he replied, “Row? Like row row row your boat?” Here are 10 things we’ve learned.

1. Paperwork Was Originally A Planned Sequel To 2008’s Paper Trail
Not directly wanting to title it as a follow-up to his most successful commercial effort, T.I. went into the studio and played around with a few concepts, all of which began with the word paper. Ultimately he decided on Paperwork because it’s a symbol of authenticity. To him, nothing is authentic without there being a document behind it.

2. Pharrell Produced Four Songs On Paperwork
Tip has already championed Pharrell as one of the main reasons he bolted longtime label home Atlantic for Columbia when he became a free agent last year. The dividends pay off early on with the album’s title track “Paperwork” as well as “G-Shit” featuring Watch The Duck and Jeezy.

3. Paperwork Is ‘Soulful’ T.I. At His Finest
The direction for Paperwork was outlined as such from T.I. and Pharrell bouncing ideas off one another in the early recordings. There’s more pianos, more ‘70s blaxplotated horns, more ideas of superhero music and plenty of soul samples chopped throughout Paperwork. “I want to help redefine the sound of trap music,” he said rather confidently. When asked if this was more of a “Song Cry” like approach, he nodded and cracked a wide smile.

4. ATL 2 Is A Possibility
One fan rose to ask Tip a question regarding the much rumored sequel to his 2006 hit film ATL. He shocked himself when he considered it’s nearly been a decade since the film’s release but stated that much like The Best Man Holiday, it would take effort from the fans to demand it in order for it to be produced and backed by a major Hollywood studio.

5. “Stay” Isn’t Totally About Tiny
T.I.’s issues with his wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris have been documented by plenty of gossip columns and other publications. It was reported that “Stay”, a record T.I. said originally belonged exclusively to Samsung that got leaked, isn’t directly speaking on his personal life but it one of those records that allows him to “convey the emotions” of someone possibly going through it.

6. History Always Defines How He Comes Back Stronger
Longtime T.I. fans understand this very well: Whenever the self-proclaimed King of the South is going through an issue, legal or otherwise, he does not lack for personal growth and triumph in his music. Outside of No Mercy, T.I. is practically undefeated in this regard and in his words, it’s always about how a man responds to being tried at his worst.

7. His Personal Favorite Album … Is The Next One
Every album in T.I.’s life is a snapshot of his life at the moment. He can never truly pick one particular album because to him that would be “settling for that particular moment.” So more than likely, he’ll profess that Paperwork is his favorite project to date. Until his next album arrives.

8. The New Generation Thinks They Know It All
When asked about his thoughts about the current state of hip-hop, Tip understands that there are a few who seem poised for the stratosphere. There is however, plenty of artists who think they know everything soon as they step in the door. “When it was my generation, the Ludacris’s, the Lil’ Jons, we went and asked how to make it,” he says.

9. He Just Wrapped Working On Kevin Hart & Will Ferrell’s Get Hard Film.
“Stupid,” he says about his time on the set between Will and Kevin.

10. Paperwork Is Coming In September
There’s no concrete release date for Tip’s forthcoming 9th studio album but to him, any day in September.

Photo credit: 93.7 The Beat