Following a chaotic and heartbreaking week of officer-involved shootings, Atlanta rapper T.I. released a new EP inspired by police brutality and the United States’s current sociopolitical climate.
The six-song, 20-minute EP, Us or Else, arrived Friday morning as a Tidal exclusive.
T.I. announced the project via Twitter late Thursday with the hashtag #RIPTerenceCrutcher, a nod to the Oklahoma man killed by Tulsa police. The effort features guest performances from Meek Mill, Big K.R.I.T., former Bernie bro Killer Mike, and Quavo of Migos.
— T.I. (@Tip) September 23, 2016
Produced by Mars of 1500 or Nothin’, lead single “We Will Not” premiered last month, with a music video following shortly after. In it, T.I. is numb and angry, watching headlines tick on-screen from his couch. It sets the thematic point of the EP—that this augmented bundle of news is not disjointed but rather a systemic consequence of treating police officers as soldiers.
“We will not live on our knees, we will die on our feet,” T.I. threatens.
Politically charged hip-hop is as common as bad movies from Common. But T.I. rallying his Atlanta pop colleagues and dispensing strong bangers—Quavo, in particular, turns out his raps on “Blackman”—is a definitive declaration from the American South, both ground zero for officer-involved shootings and creative hip-hop.
Check out the full EP on Tidal.