T.I.’s “I’m Illy” Is A Reminder Of The Atlanta Rapper’s Commercial Rampage During The 2000s


Although the newest generation of Hip-Hop fans may view Future, Young Thug, or even Playboi Carti as the most influential artists to come out of Atlanta, there’s no debating that T.I. once firmly held the title of “The King of the South.” With three back-to-back number one albums between 2006 and 2008 as well as a classic movie in the form of 2006’s ATL, T.I. had the mid-2000s in a chokehold

Yet, while 2006’s King and 2007’s T.I. vs. T.I.P. remain two of the highlights from the Atlanta artist’s lengthy discography, 2008’s Paper Trail remains T.I.’s best-selling album to date, having been certified two-times platinum within a year of its release. Released on September 30, 2008, Paper Trail celebrates its 13-year anniversary today, so in honor of the chart-topping album, we revisit T.I.’s commercial peak.

Recording artist T.I performs during the 2008 BET Hip-Hop Awards at The Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center on October 18, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Having debuted atop the Billboard 200 with career-high first-week sales of 568,000 copies, Paper Trail produced eight singles, including the multiplatinum-certified songs “Whatever You Like,” “Live Your Life,” and “Dead and Gone.” Yet while any of those songs would make a great throwback, the album’s second track, a braggadocious song titled “I’m Illy,” is worth revisiting as well. T.I. was commercially unstoppable from 2006 to 2008, and you can hear his confidence oozing from every line on “I’m Illy.”

Scroll down to listen to “I’m Illy” below and share your favorite songs from Paper Trail in the comments.

Quotable Lyrics

Rebel for the hell of it, hella rich
Never have to sell a brick again—must I tell a bitch again?
The bullshit, I’m addressing; check, I’m on some next-level shit
Never been fucked in the game: I’m celibate
Rarely out my element, barely out the ghetto with
One foot out and one foot in, intelligent as fellas get
Listen, let’s settle this; be clear—
I could fall back seven years; still, it ain’t no one ahead of me


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