King or not, T.I. essentially gets bottom billing on his single “Swagger Like Us,” which also features Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Jay-Z. Ridiculous, right? And yet Mr. Candle Guy still steals the scene.
Kanye sports a memorable line or two, with: “I know I got it first / I’m Christopher Columbus, y’all just the pilgrims.” But with the mixtape-style beat he jacked from M.I.A., the producer still comes off a bit lackluster. Meanwhile Jay-Z just raps about stacks of money (“Can’t wear skinny jeans ’cause my knots don’t fit”), and Lil Wayne is still using that effing autotune effect. Enter T.I.:
You go see Weezy for the wordplay
Jeezy for the birdplay
Kanyeezy for diversity
And me for controversy
Though more compliment than kiss-off, T.I.’s opening salvo establishes him as the ace in this star-studded deck. His three colleagues have their uses, he’s saying, but by distilling each to a couple words he cuts them down to size while aggrandizing himself. If nothing else, T.I. puts himself on the same level as Jay-Z, Kanye, and Wayne — an impressive feat in itself.
Wordsworth Media and Weezy F. Baby Productions present:
Weezy Wisdom: An Educational Adventure
Hip-Hop Wisdom is usually a pretty simple bit. Someone says something real funny or real smart, and you get to hear it. But today you’re gonna learn something. The line, from “Seat Down Low” on Da Drought 3, is:
I am so so New Orleans Like 1825 Tulane
“You gotta be from New Orleans to know what the fuck I’m talking about,” Weezy says as the synthified horns from the Mannie Fresh beat (originally from T.I.’s “Top Back”) fade out. Well now you don’t. Here’s the quick rundown, straight from NOLA-area comedy singer and online nostalgist Benny Grunch:
Rosenburg’s Furniture Store at 1825 Tulane Avenue absolutely won the radio and TV promo spot lifetime achievement award. The simple address, sung in a kindergarten child’s voice with no accompaniment, is totally indelible. You can’t forget it, ever. “Eighteen Twenty Five… Too- lane”
Hear the original jingle after the jump — 1,024 times more adorable than when Wayne sings it.
It’s fun to imagine T.I.’s life these days, milling around his house (don’t call it house arrest), mixing new tracks while wearing his ankle monitor and a terrycloth bathrobe. His single “No Matter What” has got kind of a “Stay gold, Ponyboy” feel to it. “I ain’t dead, I ain’t done, I ain’t scared,” he tells us in the chorus. And occasionally he drops a quotable like this one:
You let the blog sites and the magazines tell it
I’m sho’ to be in jail till 2027
Not that we’d ever wish that, Tip. But we’re still smarting from this clunker from his 2006 collabo with Justin Timberlake, “My Love”:
They call me candle guy Simply because I am on fire
Wish were it true that T.I. really moonlighted as a waxsmith, or that he grew up working summers in Atlanta’s sweltering paraffin factories. Hell, if the Rubberband Man teamed up with Yankee Candle Co., they’d probably come up with some wicked hemp-related flavors. (Also: Can you call it “flavor” if you don’t eat it?) Seriously, if Top Back Scenteds ever make it out of the factory, mark us down for three cases. But if this whole line is about “Hey, what other stuff’s on fire?” then we cannot abide. T.I., you are in the Registry.