XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
Aug. 19, 2003: Before he was hip-hop’s “Rubber Band Man,” T.I. was a young and hungry Southern MC with a grizzly voice and plenty to prove. Coming off a low-selling debut album, I’m Serious, in 2001, Tip was serious about coming back with a lyrical vengeance on his second LP when he dropped Trap Muzik on this day in 2003.
Released 20 years ago on T.I.’s Grand Hustle Records in conjunction with Atlantic Records, Trap Muzik was much better received by fans and critics. The 16-song collection features guest appearances from Bun B and Mac Boney and production credits from Kanye West, David Banner, DJ Troomp and Tip himself. Unlike his first release, the album spawned a number of hit singles, including “24’s,” “Be Easy” and most notably, “Rubber Band Man,” which peaked at No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week ending March 20, 2004. The song earned him a built-in nickname.
“Everybody plays a part and has a position and I just did my part,” T.I. told The Breakfast Club host Charlamagne Tha God about the worldwide influence of his second album. “I had no idea that what I was doing would mean so much to so many. So many people would be able to relate and correspond with their own contributions that would reach the masses and turn to what it turned into to today. It’s just a blessing to be a piece of such of magnificent machine [the trap music genre].”
Trap Muzik sold 109,000 copies in its first week and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on June 1, 2007. The album is recognized as one of the greatest Southern rap albums of all time due to its authentic trap life themes, impeccable production and the lyrics and charisma of the self-proclaimed “King of the South.”