Two things are worth mentioning when discussing T.I.’s 6th studio album, Paper Trail. One is the surroundings in which it was created – the Atlanta rapper started writing the songs in the midst of an on-going trial for weapon charges against him. This scenario that reminds of 2Pac’s Me Against the World eventually concluded in T.I. serving a 1-year sentence after the album’s release. The other interesting aspect is his decision to write all the lyrics on paper as opposed to going in the studio and rapping them off the top of his head, as he had done previously. That ‘no-writing-down’ technique was originally popularized by Jay-Z and T.I. going against it gave Paper Trail its name.
Live Your Life, one of the album’s two number-one hits, is centered around a Romanian sample. It being my home country, I recognized O-Zone’s Dragostea Din Tei as the source immediately. The europop number topped the charts in multiple countries such as Germany, France and Austria upon its release in 2003. You may also recognize it because of the Internet meme known as ‘Numa Numa’ – a video of German vlogger Gary Brolsma lip syncing and dancing to the song that inspired countless parodies. For additional information, “dragostea din tei” translates as “love from the linden” and “numa numa” is derived from the song’s “nu ma, nu ma iei” chorus which means “you don’t, you don’t take me”.