Paper Trail
(Grand Hustle/Atlantic)


T.I. hardly sounds like a menace to society on Paper Trail, said Ben Detrick in The Village Voice. Last October, the Atlanta rapper was caught with enough machine guns to “make the al-Sadr militia piss their pants in jealousy.” Charged under federal law with possession of unregistered weapons, he was sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service and a year in jail. The run-in with the law, however, appears to have done this rapper some good. His sixth album, recorded during a period of house arrest, is devoted to reformation, “self-reflection, and separating T.I. from his roguish past.” Surprisingly intimate and withdrawn, Paper Trail is the sound of a changed man, said Steve Jones in USA Today. The 28-year-old “owns up to his mistakes, takes haters to task,” and claims to have already started afresh. At one point, he makes the point blatantly clear, rapping, “The old me is dead and gone.” The album plays as an “act of contrition and a triumphal sneer,” said Chris Richards in The Washington Post. For the first time since his 2001 debut, T.I. has actually put his lyrics down on paper, and as a result produces “the best rhymes of his career.” He might be headed to the slammer, but Paper Trail makes one “indelible forget-me-not.”