Us or Else


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Us or Else Review

by Neil Z. Yeung

In a year that witnessed news headlines and race relations bubble to a dangerous boiling point, the artist formerly known as T.I. returned with his fourth EP, 2016's Us or Else. Supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, the six-song release presented an unflinching and socially conscious look at race and power in America. One of Tip's most honest works to date, Us or Else collects outspoken guest voices like Big K.R.I.T. ("Switchin Lanes"), Meek Mill and Migos' Quavo ("Black Man"), and Killer Mike ("40 Acres") on a raw collection of protest rap. Like Vince Staples, Kendrick Lamar, and Deniro Farrar, T.I.'s delivery is focused and deadly serious, especially on the album centerpiece and highlight "Warzone." Strategically employing classic soul and R&B samples atop contemporary production, Us or Else serves as a sonic link between periods of historic struggle with a message and intent that remain painfully relevant.

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