I talked to T.I. this week about his new album “Trouble Man,” which is in stores Tuesday. You can read the story here.
At the end of our sit-down, I slipped in a question about his verse on “Swagga Like Us,” his 2008 song with Kanye West, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne. T.I. unquestionably steals the song out from underneath his fellow MCs with his ice cold, bravado-filled 16 bars (“you kick it like me, no exaggeration necessary/ livin’ revolutionary, nothing less than legendary”), which is my favorite verse of his and one of my favorite verses of all-time.
I still marvel how there’s not a wasted word or syllable in T.I.’s verse. I couldn’t not ask him about it. So I did. Here’s what T.I. had to say about the genesis of his “Swagga Like Us” verse:
“I wrote four verses (for the song). At first, it was a full song with me and Kanye. I had two verses, Kanye had one verse. I wrote another verse when I found out Wayne was going to be on there, then I wrote another verse when I found out Jay was going to be on there, too.
“All of them was just about how I was better than everybody else at pretty much everything, and why. It was just bravado, proper application of bravado and swag, and kickin’ flav in a major way. That was my approach. (The final verse) stood out moreso than the others. The other ones were cold too, though. As a matter of fact, I need to go back and research those other verses. I might go and see if I can’t blow some dust off an old favorite.”
Here’s T.I., Kanye, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne doing the song at the 2009 Grammy Awards.