In February, members of Vinyl Me, Please Rap & Hip Hop will receive the first-ever reissue of T.I.’s King, on split black and white vinyl. You can sign up to receive it here.
Below, read about how a random lunch overseas led to us being able to select it for Rap & Hip-Hop.
Andrew Winistorfer: I know that we had T.I. on a spreadsheet for artists to consider for Rap & Hip-Hop for at least a year. He’s one of the biggest, most important rappers in the history of ’00s rap; he helped launch Atlanta’s post-OutKast sound, and he had so many smashes that opened lanes for folks to come out of Atlanta in a big way. I think we zeroed in on this title specifically because it’s a great nexus record, which we love to feature. It’s the album where T.I. went from being the hottest street rapper in Atlanta to being a bonafide pop star; it presented both sides of him. It has songs that pay homage to UGK — and feature UGK — but then it also has his first real pop hit with “What You Know About That.” It was one foot on the street, and one on the pop charts, but it was all just T.I. The pop mainstream basically bent to him for that crazy era between 2006 and 2008.
Cameron Schaefer: Yeah, and after you zeroed in on this album as the one we should feature and we should pursue, I reached out to Atlantic to see if we could reissue this. They told us that someone had bought T.I.’s catalog, and said they couldn’t authorize anything, and that’s all we sort of knew about it last summer when we first started trying to track it down.
A couple weeks after I talked to Atlantic, I was on a music industry trip/conference in Israel with 50 other folks, and was eating lunch with someone, and he was the head of this company that does a lot of things with new media, and buying artist catalogs for reissue and things like that. And he was asking me what I did, and I was telling him about our different subscriptions, and Rap & Hip-Hop specifically, and he asked what kind of records we do. I talked about the ones we had featured, and then I said, “And the one we’re trying to do for later this year or early next is T.I.’s King, but we don’t know who has the rights.” And he kind of looked at me blankly, and was like, “Are you joking? My company just got T.I.’s catalog from Atlantic.” If we hadn’t sat by each other at lunch that day halfway around the world we might not have even done this record (laughs).
Yeah, you came back and were like, “I got us T.I.” and we were all like “Huh?” (laughs)
So we did this, and we’re working with them on deluxe reissues of Paper Trail and Trap Muzik as well that we’ll be selling and they’ll be selling on D2C sites as well.
Whenever I see a record that has that half-and-half effect, I’m always like, “Oh sweet, I bet that was difficult,” but I actually have no frame of reference for that being true. But I’m always so psyched by the half-and-half thing.
In reality it’s the easiest thing for them to do because it’s just a half of one puck of one color, and half of another (laughs).
I knew it (laughs). But yeah, the split matches the cover on this one really well. What other details can you tell me about the package?
Yep, like a lot of our rap titles this one is DMM at GZ, and is a 2-LP standard weight, and has a heavyweight gatefold jacket with white foiling on the jacket. It’s a beautiful workhorse high quality record.
Andrew Winistorfer is Vinyl Me, Please’s Classics and Country Director, and an editor of their books, 100 Albums You Need In Your Collection and The Best Record Stores In The United States. He’s written Listening Notes for more than 20 VMP releases, and co-produced Nat Turner Rebellion's Laugh to Keep From Crying. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.