Pop, Obv.: "What You Know"

Oh man, T.I. I’m still trying to get up to steam on the hip-hop canon — finally got around to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx this week, for example — so I haven’t been weighing in on a lot of 2006 releases. I just picked up King, though, and it is wrecking my shit. As far as above-ground hip-hop goes this year, I’ll stick with the Ghostface album, but some of these songs are just monsters.

“What You Know” takes a lot of things I traditionally never liked about hip-hop — chain-link drums straight off of “Back That Ass Up,” Diddy-esque melodramatic flourishes — and puts them in the service of T.I.’s grinning, refridgerator-cool flow. The anthem chorus doesn’t hurt, either. I wish dude had done all the guest verses on Timberlake’s album. Sorry if you’ve already heard this song a million times already, but indie kids don’t listen to the radio, right?

T.I. – “What You Know”: mp3


Pop, Obv. is a column about the star-maker machinery behind the popular song. Previously: “Sexy Back”