TI King Album TI King Album

Here's Why 'King' Is T.I.'s Most Important Album

As T.I.'s 'King' album celebrates 10 years in our CD players and iPods alike, we revisit seven key reasons why it's his most important LP.

Let’s take a trip to 2006, where we got sexy back with Justin Timberlake, played Sherlock Holmes with NY Hip Hop while soaking up all that snap music had to offer. While we were engulfed in pop trials and tribulations, on this day 10 years ago, T.I. dropped his fourth studio album King.

The year was a memorable one for pop music (remember B-Day?), but Tip ruled the charts and the streets of Atlanta with his star-studded album. While the rapper had dropped chart-topping singles like “Rubberband Man” and “Bring Em Out” with his past projects, King showed the rapper’s inevitable progress and catapulted the then 25-year-old into mainstream bliss.

It’s essentially a wonder, the rapper’s album was full of recollections about his trap days and yet, it transcended in the projects of the Bronx to the cul-de-sacs in Arizona. The album became T.I’s magnum opus of sorts, with monster beats from The Neptunes, Just Blaze, DJ Toomp, Travis Barker and Mannie Fresh. His features were even more profound—the late Pimp C appears on “Front Back” with UGK partner Bun B—setting a modern high bar for lyrical southern rap. Essentially, the people agreed. It went gold in its first week (523,000) and went on to go double platinum.

Fans might hail his other works as his best, but King is the rapper’s most important album. It helped bring trap to America and reminded everyone the south still had something to say. In honor of King’s anniversary and seventh bundle of joy, here are seven more reasons King is T.I’s most important album.

1. It proved the south had lyrical dialect.

He might have been a new rapper to the masses, but with three albums and loads of life experience on his shoulders, the rapper painted portraits of street life on “King Back,” reminding us even back then who made listeners curious about the trap lifestyle. In the midst of King were plenty of southern rappers who dominated the clubs and your high school prep rallies. The rapper refrained from that lane and instead presented “I’m Talking To You,” a hip-hop mosh-worthy track with lyrics like, “For n***as wit dirty mouths, I got a lotta clean pistols to wash 'em out I'm really finna give yo a** some hotter sh*t to talk about.” Insert flame emojis here.

2. It showed southern camaraderie.

Similar to his Urban Legend album, the rapper kept his collabos in the southern region (Young Buck Jeezy, DJ Drama, Young Dro) with the exception of Common on “Goodlife.” Throughout the album, the rapper reminded listeners of unity and respect the artists had of one another on “Top Back,” “Bankhead” and the UGK assisted “Frontback.” The kumbaya moments were just a year after his beef with Lil Flip and competitive quarrel with Ludacris. Blame it on time or the rapper’s newfound confidence; T.I’s choice to glorify his friendships on King was a smart move in pushing his career and the reputation of the south forward.

3. It came with hits.

All of T.I.’s singles (“Why You Wanna,” “Top Back (Remix)” “Live In The Sky” “What You Know”) were a success on the radio and the charts. He also took home the Grammy for Best Rap Song for “What You Know.” While fans might dispute he was robbed of the Best Rap Album (it went to Ludacris’ Release Therapy) he went on to grab another Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “My Love” with Justin Timberlake.

4. It set the blueprint for trap music.

If rappers of today were reluctant to talk about their raw pasts before, they were more than pressed to boast today thanks to T.I. While Trap Muzik presented the rapper’s former life on wax, King proved he had nothing to be ashamed of. On the Nick Fury produced, “I’m Straight,” with B.G. and Jeezy, the rapper spits his first encounter with the trap style was all thanks to his father. “A lot of glamour and glitz, but shawty I don't need that/ My beginnin' was a humble one, a hustler I'mma son of one Taught me how to number run, I went from that to number one.” At the age of 14, mini Tip was just trying to do his job, regardless of the legal repercussions. That mindset stayed with him for some time, but that’s another convo for another day.

5. It’s reflective, remorseful & confident.

It wasn’t all rainbows and trap butterflies for the rapper. He also showed a softer side on “Live In The Sky,” his ode to deceased family members and friends, including his childhood pal Philant Johnson. No matter how far he was from the life he’s glorified, the losses suffered reminded the rapper his riches could vanish in a minute. “F**k how many millions I got, n***a, so what if I'm hot/When I got prices on my head, feds rushin' my spot.” The rapper was prone to arrests and jail time during his career, which effected larger endorsements and potential movie deals. He’s snapped back from his fallouts, but back then he knew it was all for a greater cause. After all, his album wasn’t named King for his self-proclaimed “King of the South” troupe; it was named after his 10-year-old son.

6. It showed popular music would essentially be hip-hop music.

Q-Tip didn’t want us to call rap music pop, but T.I’s success demonstrated hip-hop’s domination in American music. Previous rappers like DMX, Jay Z and Missy Elliott were the poster kids for the MTV generation so it’s no surprise Tip was up next.

7. It proved he would always be King.

And always will be.

 

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Tekashi 6ix9ine Identifies Cardi B And Jim Jones As Nine Trey Members And More Takeaways (Day 3)

Daniel "Tekashi 6ix9ine" Hernandez's witness testimony continues to shock the masses. On Thursday (Sept. 19), the rapper took the stand again to elaborate on his kidnapping as well as interviews he gave about his broken relationship with members of the Nine Trey gang.

Interviews by Angie Martinez and Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club were analyzed due to the rapper's subtle jabs towards his former manager Shotti and defendant Anthony "Harv" Ellison. 6ix9ine's social media personality was also broken down as he explained the definitions of trolling and dry snitching.

But perhaps the most questionable part of his testimony arrived when he name-dropped Cardi B and Jim Jones as members of the Nine Trey Gangster Bloods.

Below are some of the biggest takeaways from today.

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Day 3 1. Tekashi Claims Cardi B And Jim Jones Are Members Of Nine Trey Gang

Hernandez provided context to a wiretapped conversation between alleged Nine Trey godfather Jamel "Mel Murda" Jones and rapper Jim Jones. Complex notes a leaked 'individual-1' transcription revealed who appeared to be Jim Jones. During Mel Murder and Jim Jones conversation, the two discussed Hernandez's status as a Nine Trey member.

"He not a gang member no more," Jones reportedly said. "He was never a gang member. They going to have to violate shorty because shorty is on some bullshit." Hernandez went on to identify Jones as a "retired" rapper and a member of the Nine Trey.

Prosecutors play phone call between Nine Trey godfather Mel Murda and rapper Jim Jones. Tekashi says Jones is in Nine Trey.Jones: "He not a gang member no more. He was never a gang member. They going to have to violate shorty because shorty is on some bull--it."

— Stephen Brown (@PPVSRB) September 19, 2019

When it comes to Cardi B, the rapper named the Bronx native as a Nine Trey member. He was also strangely asked if he copies Cardi's alleged blueprint of aligning herself with gang members in her early music videos. "I knew who she was. I didn’t pay attention,” he said. In a statement to Billboard, Atlantic Records denied 6ix9ine's claims that she was a member of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods. 

In a now-deleted tweet on her official Twitter account, Cardi B responded to the allegation writing clarifying her affiliation, “You just said it yourself…Brim not 9 Trey. I never been 9 trey or associated with them.”

2. Tekashi Defines The Term "Dry Snitching"

In a quick back and forth with AUSA Micheal Longyear, the rapper gave an odd definition of dry snitching. He also made it clear that he was open to becoming a witness to reduce his prison sentence.

Q: Who is Jim Jones?#6ix9ine: He's a retired rapper.Q: Is he a member of Nine Trey?A: Yes.

— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) September 19, 2019

3. Tekashi Was Willing To Pay Hitmen $50,000 To Take Out Friend Who Kidnapped Him

Shortly after he was kidnapped by Harv, the rapper went on Angie Martinez to slam those in his camp. Without saying names, Hernandez promised he would seek revenge on those behind the kidnapping. The court was then showed footage of the incident which was recorded in the car of Jorge Rivera who was already a cooperating witness in the case. Hernandez reportedly confirmed he wanted to pay a hitman $50,000 on Harv after the kidnapping.

4. He Believed He Was "Too Famous" To Hold Gun Used In Assault Against Rap-A-Lot Artist"

The alleged robbery of Rap-A-Lot artist was brought up once again when Hernandez confirmed that he recorded the incident. A weapon allegedly used in the incident was tossed to Hernandez by his former manager Shotti. When asked why he refused to hold the gun the rapper said, "I'm too famous to get out the car with a gun." As previously reported, the rapper was kicked out of the car after the incident in Times Square and was forced to take the subway back to Brooklyn with the gun.

5. Tekashi May Be Released As Early As 2020

Cross-exam Q: If you get time served you'd get out at the beginning of next year, correct?#6ix9ine: Correct.

— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) September 19, 2019

There's that.

6. Footage Exists Of Tekashi Pretending He Was Dead

Harv's lawyer Deveraux: Do you recall publishing a video pretending you were dead?#6ix9ine: Can you show me? For now, a private viewing.

— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) September 19, 2019

Before wrapping up, the court briefly touched on his trolling ways. From setting up beefs to strange notions like faking his death, the videos were viewed privately.

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Tekashi is seen in Los Angeles, CA on November 8, 2018.
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Nine Trey Trial: 4 Takeaways From Tekashi 6ix9ine's Testimony (Day 2)

The second day of Daniel "Tekashi 6ix9ine" Hernandez's witness testimony provided insight into the handlings of several incidents surrounding the rapper including the attempted shootings of rappers Casanova, Chief Keef and former labelmate, Trippie Redd.

As Complex reported Wednesday (Sept. 18), Judge Paul Engelmayer noted the leak of the rapper's testimony that hit YouTube by way of VladTV. Shortly after, Hernandez explained how the Trey Nine gang began to fall apart–or split into four groups–leaving him to take sides. In the end, Hernandez was robbed and kidnapped by his own manager as video footage revealed. The rapper explained how his initial deal turned into extortion as he provided over $80,000 to the gang.

See more details from the trial below. Hernandez will take the stand again Thursday (Sept. 21).

Day 2 1. Tekashi Arranged A Hit On Chief Keef For $20,000

The hit against Keef was widely reported last year but Hernandez provided clarity to the incident. The rapper admitted to arranging a hit on the Chicago rapper after a dispute over "my friend Cuban," a reference to rapper Cuban Doll. Although Hernandez planned to provide the gunman with $20,000 he paid him $10,000 since the hitman fired one shot and subsequently missed.

2. 6ix9ine Credits Anthony “Harv” Ellison For Barclays Center Shooting 

 

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A post shared by Tr3y (@tr3yway_ent) on Sep 6, 2019 at 3:11pm PDT

Hernandez's brief beef with fellow Brooklyn rapper Casanova sprouted from Cas' diss song, "Set Trippin.'" After hearing it, Hernandez said he was ready to "run down" on the rapper. Seqo Billy tipped him off about Cas' alliance to the Bloods set, the Apes and how they would more than likely retaliate if Cas is harmed.

“There’s a kite out saying if any apes happen to cross ya path to fire on you or anybody around you… smarten up,” Seqo wrote in a group chat presented in court. Ellison allegedly replied, “Apes can fire on this dick… They don’t want to war with Billy’s [Nine Trey]." From there, several shootings took place in Brooklyn with one inside the Barclays Center.

3. Tekashi's Beef With Rap-A-Lot Crew Caused Bigger Fallout With Trey Nine 

Hernandez went on to detail the very complicated story behind his beef with Rap-A-Lot records. The debacle started when Tekashi and the Treyway crew didn't "check-in" with Jas Prince before taking the stage at Texas' South by Southwest in March 2018. The incident was further muffled since Trey Nine members like Ellison and Billy Ato were beefing with Hernandez and Shotti at the time. In the end, Hernadez never performed. His crew would later go on to rob and attack an artist from Rap-A-Lot in New York a month later.

4. Footage of the Robbery/Fight Was Filmed By Hernandez aka 6ix9ine

As he and Shotti fled the scene, Shotti kicked the rapper out the car forcing him to take the train to Brooklyn with a gun in his possession. All of the incidents led up to the kidnapping scenario which Herdanaez claimed was in no way staged.

“I’m pleading with Harv,” Hernandez said. “I’m telling him, ‘Don’t shoot. I gave you everything. I put money in your pocket.’ I told him that I was tired of being extorted.” The robbery/kidnapping was filmed by Ellison but also recorded by Hernadez's driver Jorge Rivera who was already a cooperating witness in the case.

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Tekashi 6ix9ine attends the Made in America Music Festival on September 1, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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Nine Trey Trial: 6 Takeaways From Tekashi 6ix9ine's Testimony (Day 1)

Daniel Hernandez, known widely as Tekashi 6ix9ine, took the stand in a Manhattan federal courtroom against Anthony “Harvey” Ellison and Aljermiah “Nuke” Mack who are facing racketeering and firearms charges. Acting as a cooperating witness, the 23-year-old used part one of his testimony to break down his origins with the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods and how they've played an instrumental part in keeping up the rapper's gang image.

Pitchfork reports in addition to his testimony on Tuesday (Sept. 17) about "Treyway," the rapper made it known he began cooperating with federal agents on November 19, 2018– just one day after he was arrested on his own racketeering and firearms charges.

Answering questions from attorney Michael Longyear, the rapper "unhesitatingly" replied in full to the prosecutor about his kidnapping, how he learned about the Nine Trey crew, and why he continued to support the gang with guns and other resources.

With the rapper taking the stand again on Wednesday (Sept. 18) for part two of his testimony, here's what you missed from his first testimony.

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Day 1 1. Tekashi Testified Against Fellow Nine Trey Gangsta Blood Members

Anthony “Harv” Ellison and Aljermiah “Nuke” Mack were called out by the rapper as alleged Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods members. Prosecutors claim the men were two high-profile members of the gang who terrorized neighborhoods with gun violence. Mack allegedly sold drugs such as heroin, fentanyl, and ecstasy in Brooklyn. Both are accused of kidnapping the Hernandez last year.

2. Trippie Redd's Gang Affiliation Was Identified By 6ix9ine

Speaking on his come up in the industry, the 23-year-old shared how his hit single "Gummo" was a direct diss to former labelmate, Trippie Redd. “Me and Trippie Redd were signed to the same label,” Hernandez said. “There was a lot of jealousy involved," he revealed while sharing how Trippie's alleged affiliation with Five Nine Brims.

3. Tekashi Provided Gang With Hits In Guns In Exchange For Protection

In 2014, Hernandez worked at Stay Fresh Deli, a vegan bodega in Bushwick where he met Peter “Righteous P” Rodgers. After being told he had the "image" for a rapper, he started making music and touring. He met rapper Seqo Billy who introduced him to members of the Nine Trey to act as supporters in his "Gummo" video. Hernandez purchased three dozen red bandannas for the men in the video. "I told Seqo that I would like for them all to wear red,” he said.

From there, he met his former manager, Kifano “Shottie” Jordan, who taught him the Nine Trey handshake. After creating “Kooda” he “officially became a Nine Trey member” without going through a traditional initiation like slicing a stranger in the face with a blade.

His role in the gang was simple, the rapper divulged. “[I] just keep making hits and be the financial support for the gang... so they could buy guns and stuff like that.” When asked what he got in return he said, “My career. I got the street credibility. The videos, the music, the protection - all of the above."

After seeing the traction from "Gummo" and "Kooda," the rapper realized Treyway could change his life. “I knew I had a formula,” he said. “That’s what people liked.”

4. Tekashi Turned On Gang Members 24 Hours After His 2018 Arrest

Hernadez didn't need much time to ponder a working relationship with the feds. Just 24 hours after he and other Trey Nine affiliates faced racketeering charges, the rapper agreed to work with the feds. Initially facing 47 charges, his current testimony stems from a plea he took with the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office; under the agreement he pled guilty to nine federal counts.

“The defendant’s obligations under this agreement are as follows: That he shall truthfully and completely disclose all information of the activities of himself and others to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and that he cooperate fully with law-enforcement agencies,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Longyear said during the plea proceeding. “It is understood that the defendant’s cooperation is likely to reveal the activities of individuals and that witness protection may be required at a later date.”

5. Ellison Claims The Rapper's Abduction Was A Publicity Stunt

Ellison and Mack have accused the rapper's kidnapping in July 2018. Hernandez spoke to Angie Martinez shortly after the kidnapping and suspected people in his crew were behind the act. But Ellison’s lawyer, Devereaux Cannick, has another theory.

Calling the kidnapping a “hoax,” Cannick compared the incident to Jussie Smollet's Chicago incident. The name drop is a direct reference to the actor's claims of faking a racist and homophobic attack against himself. Cannick also claimed Ellison came up with the kidnapping as a publicity stunt in order to boost Hernandez's image.

Meanwhile, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Rebold argued that the kidnapping was real. After Ellison was fired from a "protection role" in Hernandez's camp, Rebold said, “This did not sit well with Mr. Ellison,” allowing the kidnapping plan to come to life.

6. Tekashi Nodded To His Music Videos Played In Court

Two music videos, “Gummo” and “Kooda," were played at the courthouse. Hernandez pointed out alleged gang members who appeared in the videos while nodding to his viral hits. While speaking on the creation of the video, Hernandez said he wanted the “aesthetic” of “Gummo” to reflect the "Treyway" vision.

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