When the rap history book is written, 2003 will forever be the year of 50 Cent and Outkast. What may get glossed over is that was also the year a young Clifford Harris staked his claim as king of the South and became a star.
After a lukewarm debut, a scene-stealing verse opposite Killer Mike and Bonecrusher on “Never Scared” and a bidding war, T.I. found himself buzzing and on a new label who clearly better understood how to push him. What he delivered then was an album that quietly redefined Southern rap, popularized the term “the trap,” and housed a pair of singles that catapulted him to stardom. Tip would later leap further into superstardom but none of that would have been possible without Trap Muzik.
With his second album, T.I. not only improved artistically but he also provided mainstream rap fans a contrast to the eclectic party music they had come to know the South for. What he presented was a grittier, downtrodden version of Atlanta that had yet to break through, a narrative that allowed for the future success of acts like Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane and basically anybody else who chose to flip coke and rap about it.