Any artist releasing an album so late in the year should send off warning bells since too many publications will be too busy to review the album, smack dab in the middle of compiling year-end lists which will most likely fail to include such albums… and whaddaya know, No Mercy sucks.
T.I. is living proof that money can buy happiness: the man hasn’t put out a single good album since 2006, but continuously sees his singles crack the US charts, probably because brand name producers and features have mitigated the fact that this man has and has had nothing to say – ever (“The idiots make idiotic comments,” he observes idiotically on “Salute”), and continuously gets feature work with famous-er pop artists (it still baffles me that out of everyone, T.I. managed to be on “Blurred Lines” in 2013, five to seven years after his heyday). Kanye West gives him a throwaway beat and throwaway verse (which is completely unremarkable save for the “never, never, NEVER” growl) for “Welcome to the World” and collects his paycheque. 1500 or Nothin’ (who?) listens to “Welcome to the World” and thinks that the staccato piano chords will help make him the next Kanye so he plagiarizes it for “I Can’t Help It,” not knowing that the best part of “Welcome to the World” was the sampled soul turned to screams. Pharrell and Kid Cudi both hand in embarrasingly tuneless choruses; The-Dream’s voice recalls Justin Timberlake’s from a better T.I. song, etc. Slightly less bloated than the preceding or forthcoming album, which is a plus.