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.
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.