T.I. makes history with “Paper Trail”

t.i.

“PAPER TRAIL,” the new album from Grand Hustle/Atlantic recording artist T.I., has made a phenomenal arrival atop the Billboard 200, marking the multiple Grammy Award-winning superstar’s third consecutive #1 chart entry (following 2006’s platinum-certified “KING” and 2007’s platinum-certified “T.I. VS. T.I.P.”). With total first-week sales in excess of 568,000, “PAPER TRAIL” also enters at #1 on a number of additional Billboard charts, including “Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums,” “Top Rap Albums,” and “Top Digital Albums.” The album’s unparalleled first-week sales success represents a personal best for T.I., as well as Atlantic Records’ biggest-ever one-week scan since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991.

As if all that weren’t enough, T.I. has literally exploded into the top spot on Billboard’s “Hot 100” with “Live Your Life (Feat. Rihanna),” the second single from “PAPER TRAIL.” In only its second week on the chart, the single has ascended into the pole position from last week’s ranking at #80 – the biggest-ever one-week leap to the top. The #1 success of “Live Your Life” shatters the previous record for largest ascent to #1 – a feat set just six weeks ago by T.I.’s own “Whatever You Like,” the RIAA platinum certified first single from “PAPER TRAIL.” That track rocketed to #1 from #71 the week of September 6th and has remained there until this week. This remarkable achievement establishes T.I. as the first artist to replace himself at #1 since Usher in 2004.

With sales of nearly 335,000, “Live Your Life” has logged the biggest-ever first-week digital singles sales in history. “Live Your Life” is now rocketing up the airplay charts at Urban and Rhythmic, where it earned the week’s “Most Increased Plays.” What’s more, the single received this week’s “Most Increased Plays” at Urban Mainstream – T.I.’s biggest increase to date at this format. A companion video clip for “Live Your Life” is now in post-production and will premiere sometime in the coming weeks.

The first solo chart-topper of T.I.’s remarkable career – and second overall following “My Love,” his Grammy-winning collaboration with Justin Timberlake – “Whatever You Like” is currently dominating multi-format radio outlets nationwide. The single is now in its fifth week atop the Urban airplay ranking, as well as its fourth week at #1 on the Rhythmic airplay chart. “Whatever You Like” is also blowing up at CHR/Top 40, where it is poised to enter the top 10 after only four weeks on the chart. In total, the single’s combined national radio audience is nearly 140 million, with a cumulative audience for all tracks from “PAPER TRAIL’ exceeding 200 million.

In addition, the “Whatever You Like” companion video – directed by Dave Meyers (Missy Elliot, Kid Rock) – is in major rotation on BET, FUSE, and all MTV channels. Furthermore, “Whatever You Like” continues its #1 reign over Nielsen Ringscan’s “Top 200 Mastertones” ranking, with sales now approaching three-quarters of a million. The chart success marks Warner Music Group’s second-ever #1 ringtone, following Flo Rida’s record- breaking “Low.”

T.I. made a number of TV appearances celebrating last week’s release of “PAPER TRAIL,” including NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, MTV’s TRL, and BET’s 106 & Park. The ATL-based MC is now set to take the stage at the upcoming BET Hip-Hop Awards, which has nominated him in three categories, including “Best Live Performer,” “Lyricist of the Year,” and “MVP of the Year.” The third annual ceremony will be held at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center on Saturday, October 18th and then air on BET, Thursday, October 23rd at 8:00pm (check local listings).

Last Friday night, T.I. played to a sold-out crowd for his “MySpace Release Show” at the Key Club in Hollywood. Surprise guests included Rihanna, who joined him for “Live Your Life,” and Kanye West, who performed on “Swagga Like Us.” T.I. also received a special plaque, celebrating his historic passing of the 2 million friend mark on his official MySpace page (http://www.myspace.com/trapmuzik) – a new record by a hip hop artist.

T.I.’s MySpace page has seen record-breaking traffic in recent weeks, with “Whatever You Like” having now earned over 26 million streams and counting. In addition, the page is among MySpace’s top five viewed pages daily. Earlier this year, T.I. found additional success in cyberspace, with the launch of the social networking website, www.streetcred.com.

Currently starring on the cover of Giant, T.I. has been featured in a stunning array of recent national publications, spanning XXL, Vibe, Blender, Rolling Stone, People, and King (where he will serve as “Guest Editor” on the upcoming November issue). In addition, “PAPER TRAIL” has drawn some of the most rapturous praise of T.I.’s already acclaimed career. “His best album since 2003’s ‘TRAP MUSIK,” declared the New York Times’ Jon Caramanica, “largely because it’s so serious.” “T.I. has managed to craft an album that gives listeners the standout moments they expect,” wrote Allhiphop.com. “(The album’s) achievements are enough to remind fans why they fell in love with T.I. back in 2003, and keep his tenuous title as ‘King of the South’ in place for the immediate future.” “(‘PAPER TRAIL’) shows a willingness to do something other than coast from hook to hook,” noted Pitchfork.com. “The album manages to be a more detailed manuscript of Tip’s complexity: An impending incarceration has lit a fire under him, triggering an impulse to challenge himself.” “’PAPER TRAIL’ starts and finishes strong,” hailed USA Today’s Steve Jones. “T.I. may be going away for a while, but his music won’t.”

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