Release date: Sep. 26, 2008
Photography: Darren Ankenman, Sydney Margetson
Art direction: Bill Orcutt, Greg Gigendad Burke, Ian Wright (artist)
Graphic design: Greg Gigendad Burke
Labels: Grand Hustle, Atlantic
Paper Trail was named for T.I.'s practice of writing his lyrics down on paper for the album, which is his sixth studio record. T.I. was intimately involved with the scrap-and-paste portrait that adorned Paper Trail. "We didn't want to just do a typical cover, especially for my sixth album," T.I. told MTV. "I wanted to try something a little more different. The illustration for Paper Trail pays an obvious homage to my rekindled affinity for writing my lyrics down, as well as displays my commitment to keep my art slanted towards the abstract."
The artist, Ian Wright, created a massive version out of actual stacked scraps of paper that he ripped by hand. It's not clear whether or not the name and image are an allusion to a body of evidence that existed, since T.I. was facing trial around the time of this release. Either way, the cover remains memorable and has a way of immediately recalling T.I.'s greatness, even in the context of the personal hardships he dealt with in the public eye. —Dale Eisinger