Son of Pain

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Southern rapper-cum-mogul T.I. took a chance by signing Governor to his Grand Hustle label in 2006 (home of Young Dro, P$C, and Breezy), but the R&B singer fits better on the roster than anyone would think. Governor's rawly emotional vocals and incisive, honest lyrics--evoking the best spiritually charged soul music of the 1970s--mesh well with the computerized beats, samples, and other elements of hip-hop production, as evidenced on the album's first single, "Blood, Sweat & Tears." And he is never afraid to be completely himself, whether it's courageously dressing down gangsta bragging on "Be Yourself" or asking for acceptance for his foibles on "Forgive Me."

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