T.I. is the latest guest of NPR‘s Tiny Desk concert series. On it, the rapper lightly narrates the story of his come-up across a short medley of hits from his career, backed largely by high-school-age brass and string players from the young artists non-profit Atlanta Music Project. He performed “Rubber Band Man,” “What You Know” and “Live Your Life.” “This music was about the elements that people have to endure in their lives every day and find a brighter side and make a way out of no way,” he explained at one point. “That’s what this music represents.” Though charming in concept, the performance feels not quite successful, partially affected by T.I.’s slightly too lugubrious delivery and numerous asides. The approach seems like a notion the Atlanta icon might have cooked up after watching Chance the Rapper live YouTube videos and reruns of VH1 Storytellers, and maybe not the best fit for his strengths. Watch below.