Music » CD Reviews


Urban Legend (Atlantic)


Sometime last year, a short war of words broke out between T.I. and Houston's rising star, Lil' Flip. As claims escalated and disses piled up, the two rappers both began claiming King of the South status. Ludacris took this disregard for his three platinum albums personally and started clapping back. Meanwhile, G-Unit's Young Buck slated both Luda and T.I. for guest spots on his debut. The first version of "Stomp" had the two Atlanta MCs firing at each other on the same track. Ludacris's disses were calculated and witty, four lines interpolating the hook from T.I.'s biggest hit. But T.I. saw the bigger picture; instead of phoning in some bars and ending with a big, obvious shot, he dropped an entire hot verse with a quick slap to his enemy buried in the middle.

Urban Legend works much the same way, forgoing gimmicks and relying on T.I.'s strengths. Though Lil' Jon, Nelly, and Pharrell all show up, the big names don't appear until well into the album. The first six songs are masterpieces, with T.I. flowing effortlessly about ascending from rags to riches and brushing off haters over some ill, anonymous bounce. "ASAP" and the sincere "Praying for Help" outshine the rest of the album; by the time Nelly shows up with the strippers for "Get Loose," it seems cheap. T.I. finds his comfort zone early, and no amount of commercial rap tricks can improve on his formula.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.