History would suggest T.I. has a genuine smash awaiting on his upcoming eighth album, Trouble Man, but if so, he hasn’t released it yet. The last time the Atlanta rapper emerged from the clink, he came back with 2008’s Paper Trail, which spawned such massive hits as the Weird Al-parodied “Whatever You Like,” all-star posse cut “Swagga Like Us,” and a pair of hugely successful collaborations, “Live Your Life” with Rihanna and “Dead and Gone” with Justin Timberlake — plus personal favorite “No Matter What,” a triumphant, organ-streaked self-examination. But last year’s No Mercy was painfully unfocused. And the self-proclaimed King of the South’s latest flurry of activity since his September 29 release from federal custody — including “Hear Ye, Hear Ye” and “I’m Flexin'” — hasn’t been much better..
Unfortunately, that mediocre trend continues with “Pyro,” the latest track to hit the internet from Clifford “Tip” Harris. ” ‘Pyro’ is a straight party record,” this one-time master of the rap game told Billboard. “It’s nostalgic of those crazy nights, early mornings [but] just turned up.”
Alas, the actual track is as inspired as that semi-coherent description might suggest: The guy behind “Rubberband Man,” “What You Know,” and “Why You Wanna” is now reduced to the type of decidedly un-regal hash-tag flow that even the leading popularizer of the form, Drake, now derides as “paint drying.” The club-ready backing is solid enough — snapping snares, burly horns — but not enough to burn up the place, Tip’s strangely dated-sounding “I’m the bomb, bitch” boasts notwithstanding. Go listen to “Huzzah!” one more time instead (via DJ MLK).