T.I. performs at the BET Experience. | Photo: Ural Garrett
T.I. has built a career off of being one of the forefathers of trap music, but this year he’s been using his raps to speak out against racial injustice.
It kicked off with “We Will Not,” in which T.I. uses rapid-fire rhymes and a beat by frequent collaborator Mars to decry police brutality. He released the song shortly after charges against the police officers involved in Freddie Gray’s death were dropped. He upped the ante with “Warzone,” an anti-police brutality banger with a provocative video that reenacts the deaths of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and Philando Castile, but with white actors portraying the victims and black actors portraying the police.
He dropped an entire politically-charged EP called Us Or Else on Tidal Friday, and “Black Man” stays on message as T.I. calls on Meek Mill, Quavo (of the Migos) and Rara to drop passionate raps that calls out police brutality. The music video seems to paint a street scenario that looks closer to a video that T.I. may usually make, but ends with the lyricists leading a protest. Everyone on the song rises to the occasion with rhymes more substantial than usual, but Clifford Harris himself has the most memorable lines on the record. “We say Black Lives Matter, y’all say All Lives/but y’all ain’t the ones getting hogtied,” T.I. says.
Watch the video below, and listen to Us Or Else – which also features guest appearances from Killer Mike and Big K.R.I.T. – exclusively on Tidal.