T.I.

Urban Legend (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)

Can we give out a Nobel prize this year for the Most Evolved View of Gender Relations in a Hip-Hop Song Still Saddled With Gratuitous Use of the Word "Bitch?" (We can do it the same night we award the Prehistoric Fuckface trophy to Dr. Calvin "Snoop Dogg" Broadus, whose "Can U Control Yo Hoe," from the new Rhythm & Gangsta, advertises "slapping her across her face" as an effective tool in defusing household squabbles.) In Urban Legend's "Freak Though," a low-riding production that sounds like somebody doing the Neptunes on a fixed income, T.I. inches hip-hop's virgin/whore complex ever so slightly toward progress: "It's true that you can't turn a ho into a housewife," the Atlanta native drawls sagely over a microwaved disco bass line and a heartwarming synth-flute tootle. "But listen, shorty, maybe I don't want a housewife." Ladies, the message is clear: You still have to choose between one caricature or another, but as a ho, now you too can pick up the kids from school.

 
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