Life your Life, Dead and Gone reflect ‘spiritual’ side of T.I.
Sometimes things have to happen before you turn your life around.
For T.I., the “thing” that made him change was a felony weapons charge, resulting in one year and one day in prison for the charges.
As he sat a home under house arrest awaiting his report date, T.I. took out his notebook and started writing.
As he wrote, he thought about his past. He thought about his future.
When he couldn’t write any more, he hit the studio and recorded some 100 tracks for his latest release, Paper Trail.
Like anything T.I. releases, the album is an able collection of Southern rap, but two songs on the album stand out: Dead and Gone and Live your Life.
Both of these songs reflect T.I.’s increasing maturity. They also reveal a side of T.I. that may have been invisible to many of his fans: His spirituality.
On the surface, Live your Life is your typical club banger, It even features “it” girl, Rihanna, on the hook.
Underneath, however, the song is reminiscent of the Bible’s wisdom literature.
In Ecclesiastes, the preacher tries to teach people about life. He recounts his experiences, and records them so that you can learn.
That’s exactly what T.I. does in Live your Life.
He’s learned from experience that it’s not good to be morally bankrupt.
“Your values is in disarray/prioritizin’ horribly
Unhappy with the riches/ ’cause you’re piss poor morally
Ignorin’ all prior advice and forewarnin’
And we mighty full of ourselves
All of a sudden, aren’t we?”
He’s also learned to “ignore the haters.”
In the Bible, “haters” are known as the scornful. These are people who are jealous on a different level. They don’t have what you have, and they don’t want you to have it either.
T.I., says these people make him want to react,
“I pray for patience but they
Make me wanna melt they face away
Like I once made ‘em spray
Now I could make ‘em put the K’s away”
But like a wise man (Proverbs 29:8), he keeps his peace.
If Live your Life is something out of Ecclesiastes, Dead and Gone, another single on T.I.’s Paper chase, is definitely a Proverb.
Proverbs, though on the surface they seem disjointed, are actually one to two line portable “nuggets” of truth.
The wisdom in this song transcends most of the categories into which we lump ourselves—race, ethnicity, socio-economic status.
Specific truths in this song are:
· Pride causes people to make deadly decisions;
· Think before you act;
· Even if you’ve made a mistake in the past, move on, but don’t return to your folly.
LYL is also a coming of age song with obvious allusions to 1 Corinthians 13.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”
As a man, T.I. let’s things go. No more squabbles over frivolous things—like dope money and dice games gone awry.
“No more stress, now I’m straight,
Now I get it now I take
Time to think
Before I make mistakes
Just for my family’s sake
That part of me left yesterday
The heart of me is strong today
No regrets I’m blessed to say
The old me dead and gone away.”
Themes from Romans 6-8, chapters of the Bible that have been described as the power of Christian living, also seems to be evident in the chorus:
“I turn my head to the east
I don’t see nobody by my side
I turn my head to the west
Still nobody in sight
So I turn my head to the north,
Swallow that pill
That they call pride
The old me is dead and gone,
The new me will be alright.”
Chuck Swindoll said, in his Bible study, Old Testament Characters, “Too often, if God’s name isn’t billboarded in front of us, we can’t see Him…can’t feel the warmth of His breath. But God doesn’t always advertise His presence. Sometimes He only whispers it.”
Though Live Your Life and Dead and Gone are “secular” songs, Christians can take a thing or two from them as well, namely the deeper truths about humanity, and truths about how God wants man to live.
That makes these songs bright spots and contemplation points for those who may hear the edited versions on local radio.
Watch Dead and Gone