First Impressions: The 50 Best Album-Opening Songs in Rap History

45. T.I. "Still Ain't Forgave Myself" (2001)

Producer: Craig Love
Album: I'm Serious
Label: Arista


Some old folksinger once said something like "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now." Well, it turns out he was talking about T.I. Tip had just turned 21 when I'm Serious was released but its leadoff song was one of those rare occasions in which one youth channels the wisdom of ten grandfathers. In three verses he gives us the story of 21 years on Earth and in those years he imparts the eternal struggle of every teenage hustler on every corner in every ghetto in black America: "After school I hear my momma holla homework / I say a'ight ma but look I got my own work." The flow is smooth and the confessions unembellished. The somberness of the beat makes it clear that the boasts in this song aren't boasts but thorns that still smart as Tip walks towards adulthood. —Sam Sweet

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