T.I. / Sept. 30, 2008 / New York (Highline Ballroom)
T.I.'s curfew may have kept him from indulging in a conventional album release party that extended well past the morning hours, but the time constraint (part of his sentence for federal gun charges) dT.I.'s curfew may have kept him from indulging in a conventional album release party that extended well past the morning hours, but the time constraint (part of his sentence for federal gun charges) didn't stop him from fully celebrating the release of his sixth studio album, "Paper Trail."
With a slew of surprise guests in tow, the rapper performed a two-hour show at New York City's Highline Ballroom for an energetic crowd on Tuesday night (Sept. 30).
After Brooklyn's Maino opened the show with hits like "Hood Love" and "Hi Hater," T.I. took the stage clad in a black t-shirt and dark shades and backed by DJ Drama and two hype men. Introductions for his Grand Hustle clique - including Alfamega and Big Kuntry - were forthcoming once the self-proclaimed king of the south performed tracks like "Top Back," "What Up, What's Haapnin'," "Rubber Band Man," "Watch What You Say To Me," "You Don't Know Me" and "Big Things Poppin."
Sweaty and stripped down to a tank top and jeans, T.I. followed with a cover of Lupe Fiasco's "Super Star," and before everyone knew it, Fiasco himself had jumped on stage. The bouncy Chicago rapper also performed "Hip Hop Saved My Life" and the crowd recited every word along with him.
Another surprise guest popped up after T.I. pulled out "No Mattter What" and "I Ain't Dead." Swizz Beatz came out to his own "Bring Em Out" and his mini-set, which included "That Oprah" and "Swing Ya Rag," featured him beatboxing as T.I. and members of the audience waved hankies in the air.
But the guest that thrilled the audience the most came later in the form of the "greatest rapper alive," Jay-Z. T.I. slapped on dark shades before breaking into his verse of his latest single, "Swagga Like Us," and after a taste of the M.I.A.-enhanced chorus, Jay came in from the back. The crowd yelled "Ho-oh-vaaaaaah" as the two rappers performed the track on stage for the first time.
"People try to say New York don't support Southern rappers. I tell them n*ggas, 'that's you, 'cause I don't have that motherf**king problem.," T.I.
told the crowd.
After DJ Drama signaled to everyone that it was time to go home, T.I. ran out with no shirt for the show-closer, "Whatever You Like."