Though there were inklings of T.I.'s breadth on his previous discs, it's Urban Legend, his third, that validates his claim to be "King of the South." Tip's clever, swaggering verses flow copiously through songs as disparate as the quirky Pharell hip-pop collabo "Freak Though," and the Jazze Pha/Nelly salt shaker "Get Loose." But the road to royalty hasn't been easy. "Motivation" is his retort to skeptics, while on the Swizz Beatz-produced call to arms "Bring Em Out," with its deafening whistles, there's a paranoia that accompanies the party. These obstacles only fuel T.I.'s fire, proving that he's got the charisma and versatility to rule for years.

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Angie Romero