Have you been watching this season of T.I. And Tiny: The Family Hustle? You should be. Tip’s parenting skills are on point, whether it’s encouraging his pack to diversify their hobbies or reminding them that the “gangster” lifestyle is not something they necessarily want to emulate. Although we’re seeing the casual, off-duty T.I.– a man who is responsible for bedtime and keeping his brood healthy–on screen that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about his collection of hits that remain in steady rotation.
Because Major, King, Domani and the rest of the crew have to have something to listen to around the house, here’s our take on T.I.’s 20 greatest tunes. Don’t agree? Let us know in the comments.
20. “Shoulder Lean,” Young Dro Featuring T.I.
He has a featured credit on Grand Hustle signee Young Dro’s one-hit wonder, but T.I.’s presence in the video–dancing on the steps, hanging on the couch–is what makes our day every single time.
19. “Soldier,” Destiny’s Child Featuring Lil Wayne and T.I.
Providing a hot intro verse for an au courant girl group looking for their hood status? Check.
18. “Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. and Pharrell
We tried to limit the amount of featured appearances on this list, but his recent work with #THICKE (and the fabulous dancing in this video) is just too good to ignore.
17. “We Takin Over,” DJ Khaled Featuring Akon, Rick Ross, Birdman, Fat Joe, T.I., Lil Wayne
The scope of Khaled’s boastful declaration is only fully understood after hearing T.I.’s territorial roll call.
16. “Poppin Bottles” Featuring Drake
Tip gets to say “dork,” while Drizzy owns his “boom shakalaka” delivery. A head-bobbing club anthem for revelers who like to observe from the sidelines but leave possibility of standing on the furniture open.
15. “Big S–t Poppin’ (Do It)”
Everyone needs a song to describe exactly what is up, so consider this Tip clarification that despite legal troubles and family obligations he remains a multifaceted multi-millionaire whose influence extends to music, film, television, and books.
14. “Go Get It”
The braggadocious first single off last year’s LP reminds us why Tip is still on top by littering off a list of designer duds in his closet. Superficial still official, natch.
There’s a sense of urgency in the way T.I. runs through his checklist of grievances from his peers and local law enforcement officials, and a systematic approach to proving them wrong. But that’s as far as it goes. In this day of social media madness, it’s nice to know T.I. is abstaining from hip-hop feuds (“rap beef I ain’t gonna participate in none of that”).
12. “Live Your Life” Featuring Rihanna
Cementing his status as one of the most successful rappers of the aughts comes T.I.’s generation anthem, with a catchy chorus courtesy of Ri Ri and ties to a memorable viral video.
11. “Let’s Get Away”
For all the bluster his songs contain and great walkout music they provide, smooth T.I. is very underrated. And his silky delivery almost disguises the explicit activities he has planned for your special getaway!
10. “U Don’t Know Me”
Over eight studio albums, T.I. has his pick of affirming bangers that serve to silence the haters around him. On 2004’s Urban Legend Clifford recognizes his sudden success by stomping on his competitors gunning for his spot and squashing the sycophants clamoring for recognition at the same time.
9. “Bring Em Out”
And on the third day, sports arena DJs found their go-to pre-game track.
8. “Ball” Featuring Lil Wayne
The second official single from 2012’s Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head, and far from the first time T.I. and Weezy have teamed up. But this time, it’s NOLA taking center stage thanks to the New Orleans bounce sound producer Rico Love sprinkles throughout.
7. “Swagga Like Us” Featuring Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne
A murderers’ row of hip-hop heavyweights comes together over M.I.A. haunting chorus to explain just how bad they really are. And as we’ve been reminded via Justin Bieber’s European travels, swagga tends to lead to controversy. At least T.I. comes by this honestly.
6. “What You Know”
The quintessential slow-burner that’s perfect for time well spent riding around aimlessly.
5. “Top Back”
Even if you don’t know the difference from a Mazda and a Maybach, you can’t help but shoulder-shimmy along to T.I. as he rattles off his automotive preferences.
4. “My Love,” Justin Timberlake Featuring T.I.
Lending a former boy band member some street cred ensured he’d be able to call upon JT when he needed him…and maybe get a stock in the new version of MySpace?
3. “Whatever You Like”
A musical panty-dropper with innuendos galore, this Paper Trail smash reinforces Tip’s reputation as a slick, sexy, suit-wearing MC.
2. “Rubber Band Man”
Cocky, high-spirited, and marginally offensive (“…wild as the Taliban”), this Trap Muzik track makes sure you know exactly who this T.I. fellow is.
1. “Why You Wanna”
Tip on the beach is our kind of paradise. Yes, another thing we did with this list is gather proof that T.I. just looks better with age. Is you happy?
Is T.I. truly the Jay-Z of the South? How about a game-changing featured artist, Father of the Year nominee, or all of the above?
[Photo: Getty Images]