After more than a decade in the game, T.I. shares the spotlight with his handpicked crew, Hustle Gang, for their first compilation project, "G.D.O.D."
T.I. has been a man on a mission after his second prison stint. Following the success of his eighth studio album, Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head, he once again travels back to his trapping roots. This time he’s joined by the roster he personally assembled on his Grand Hustle label for Hustle Gang’s G.D.O.D., the label’s first compilation mixtape.
King T.I. holds court in the intro letting everyone know what he and his crew are all about: 'G.D.O.D.' (Get Dough Or Die).
“Err-body” picks up where the intro left off, and sets the tone on what to expect from the mixtape. On a raunchy, quick-tempo, trapping beat, T.I., Young Dro, Trae Tha Truth, Chip, B.o.B. and Shad da God take turns trading bars about their allegiance to each other and the paper chase. Right off the bat, T.I. addresses the Yung L.A. situation:
"Only signed that nigga cause he had that song/ Thought he was that nigga but I had that wrong/ Had I known what I know, I’da left that alone/ He ain’t been shit since, that’s my two cents/ Young gang of niggas that don’t like me shawty/ Gotta problem then come find me shawty/ You’re too broke to green light me shawty/ Got a bunch of paid niggas just like me shawty"
It’s hard to steal the spotlight from B.o.B. on this track but Trae Tha Truth’s bars just can’t be denied:
"Hustle Gang I G.D.O.D., still in this bitch like B.o.B./ Ask T.i.P I go like Mike, I take flight like T.O.P./ I get money, get money, y’all rubberband and I sit money/ You trap stash and I fit money, can’t none of these hoes get shit from me/ I do me, get mine in this Maybach where I sit fine/ Ain’t no stress, I’m bossed up on this block collecting like rent time"
After one full run through of G.D.O.D., it’s obvious why T.I. handpicked the crew that he did. Young Dro and B.o.B. were signed early on in their careers. Rapper/producer Travis Scott came along a few years later. In 2012, T.I. looked outside of Atlanta for new talent, signing Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, Londoner Chip and Trae Tha Truth, who hails from Houston. Each one brings something different to the table, each flow is different from the rest, but under their General’s watch the crew comes together with a shared goal. It’s hard to pick the standouts for each song because everyone steps up to the plate with their A-game.
In addition to his roster, T.I. dips into his Rolodex and calls on some friends and affiliates to join in on the paper chase. Trippy Juicy J appears on the bouncy “Let Me Find Out (Remix).” It’s only right to enlist fellow ATLiens Young Jeezy and Shad Da God for the hometown homage “Only N Atlanta.” Doe B makes an appearance on several songs including the slow-creeping banger “Kemosabe.” The comical Mystikal is once again a show-stopper with his appearance on “Here We Go.” MMG’s Meek Mill, who was first signed to Grand Hustle before he was locked up, brings his usual high-tempo energy to “Blocka,” which also features Bad Boy’s French Montana. But it is Young Dro whose bars will be best remembered on this track:
"If you want it with my shooter, then nigga, pull up then/ He’ll knock your ass off for a light ten/ You a coward if you kill a nigga in the night then/ Say you gangsta, well kill a nigga in the light then/ Then wait ’til the police come, right then/ And if you don’t run, it’ll make you look right then"
No other song embodies what Hustle Gang is truly about more than the track title itself. Sure to be anthem for the next few months, “G.D.O.D,” personifies what T.I. and his crew are all about. Another standout track is “Animal” with T.I., B.o.B. and Travis Scott, who co-produced the track along with Tommy Brown. Bobby Ray once again demands the spotlight.
Compilation projects can be a tricky thing, making sure each artist gets enough shine while simultaneously gelling styles and personalities just enough so it’s not an overkill on each track. It can get even murkier with multiple producers creating the sounds, but DJ Spinz, David Banner, Stroud, Trap Beats, Young Chop and a slew of other producers mold a complete sound for Hustle Gang. Listening to G.D.O.D. is akin watching the Jamaica Men’s track team run the relay in the 2012 Olympics; just as one Hustle Gang member finishes his bars, the baton is passed on to the next and then the next, each runner keeping the pace, sprinting to the end.
Early fans of T.I. will be extremely pleased with his roster and Hustle Gang’s G.D.O.D mixtape. It’s the perfect blend of true trap songs and radio-friendly hits that will keep a spot in rotation well into the summer. In a recent interview, T.I. declared he would remain independent until the right deal comes along and it’s clear he has a lot to offer and is worth the price.
Take a listen, and download the mixtape, below.