Getting money at any and all costs has appealed to hip hop’s survival instincts for decades. T.I.'s Hustle Gang continues the tradition with Get Dough or Die, an appetizer for what will apparently be an active year for the fam of Tip, B.o.B and Young Dro.
“Any n---a getting’ money, you down with me partna / In G-d we trust, if it’s ‘bout that bread, got d---it it’s aight with us,” announces King Tip on the intro. His unyielding allegiance to the paper is part of what made him one of the game’s favorite hustlers. But now, it’s only leading to music that’s not worthy of his legacy.
T.I. makes up for his fading creative sparks by trusting in his solid crew of industry veterans. Trae Tha Truth joins the team as they trade rapid-pace flows on “Err-Body,” a great pace setter that the rest of the tape fails to adequately back. Upstart Travis Scott joins vet-in-the-making B.o.B in giving a new-wave edge to “2 F---s.” “Even in a threesome I don’t give two f---s,” spits the “Airplanes” hit maker.
Elsewhere, Tip also wisely borrows the momentum of out-of-towners French Montana (the street ballad “Blocka”) and Juicy J (the trunk thumping “Let Me Find Out [Remix])” to get some much needed inspiration. And “Only N Atlanta” finally matches the Southern kang with another A-town great, Young Jeezy, over an experimental Dungeon Family-esque beat. Those solid verses make it one of the tape’s standouts.
However, his pairing with hip hop oddling Iggy Azalea on “Chasin Me” fails to bring his best.
By his own admission, money has clearly clouded T.I.'s artistic vision, watering down the trap sound he helped pioneer. At times Get Dough or Die is reminiscent of the glory days of his Pimp Squad Clique, with Tip occasionally kicking up and hitting his stride with one of his trademark accelerated flows. But for the most part, the tape is merely a disappointing reminder that money stacks does not a throne make.
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(Photo: Grand Hustle Music)