Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. If you can't get with this expediently excessive piece of rich-get-richer, commercial rap albums are beyond your ken.
  2. With very little filler and a strong selection of songs from start to finish, the hype that this is potentially "album of the year" according to Atlantic Records may ACTUALLY be true.
  3. Despite his often earnest lyrics, the radio-friendly party anthems, flirty come-ons, collaborations with A-list pals (Rihanna, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Justin Timberlake), and outstanding production prove this beleaguered bad boy still knows how to have a good time.
  4. A welcome return to form after the underwhelming, muddled concept album "T.I. Vs. T.I.P.," Trail is an uneven but oft-invigorating combination of velvet and grit, angst and celebration.
  5. He's embodied literature's most popular archetype--the survivor--by transforming his woes into a reflective, enjoyable album.
  6. Paper Trail tops them both [previous two albums] simply by being content driven, from the plot to the refined delivery.
  7. 80
    His struggles did make for a strong album.
  8. Even with the burden of sloppy crossover tracks, Paper Trail has enough standout moments for T.I.’s throne to remain secure for now.
  9. There is a sense of urgency and a new dimension of self-reflection not touched upon throughout the holding pattern that was "T.I. vs T.I.P."
  10. More lyrical than Lil' Wayne and catchier than Young Jeezy, T.I. has once again proved the fact that he represents an excellent blend of lyrical talent and pop sensibility.
  11. House-arrested rapper defends his realm.
  12. 70
    T.I. boats one of gangsta rap's most mellifluous voices and more polysyllabic lexicons, and when he combines the two, he's dazzling, hypnotic, virtuosic. [Dec 08/Jan 09, p.82]
  13. Sequenced as the record is, with each personality dominating certain stretches of runtime, Paper Trail feels almost vaudevillian.
  14. Paper Trail more often succeeds when the positivity sounds more earned than court-ordered.
  15. T.I. is still a bit too keen to remake his signature hit 'What You Know,' but songs like the clever 'I'm Illy' and the Just Blaze-produced stomper 'Live Your Life' find T.I. reconciling himself to his lot in life: he's a well-oiled hit machine who's more fun than deep.
  16. T.I.'s voice is still one of the best instruments in all of hip-hop, but the vapidity of his words is all the more pronounced after his audience has been waiting so long for him to say something interesting.
  17. On what has been for the most part an impeccably executed commercial rap album, TI again reminds us what he’s really capable of.
  18. His apparent claims to have had "no choice" in his most recent legal entanglement--attempting to procure machine guns from an FBI cooperating witness--do him little credit, but the skilled, catchy choruses of On Top of the World, Whatever You Like and current UK hit Live Your Life suggest he is still a strong "buy".
  19. Though you'd be justified in hanging this writer for conflating person and persona, you're asked to contemplate the uneasy positivity that chacterizes Paper Trail's three mot popular songs. [Dec 2008, p.74]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 61 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Feb 22, 2015
    Paper Trail is very satisfying to listen. Live Your Life is undoubtedly my favorite song and is the song that attracted me to listening to this album.
  2. Jul 11, 2013
    Paper Trail is a reflective album for T.I. Lyrically he reflects on his career so far and focuses on his merits and the fact that honestlyPaper Trail is a reflective album for T.I. Lyrically he reflects on his career so far and focuses on his merits and the fact that honestly nobody currently in the game compares nor have they made it very competitive. This holds as solid material based on what he's previously accomplished and how he's blessed hip hop with the realest and best  material the past 7 years. The production in this album is something new for T.I. and isn't exactly what fans of his have come accustom to hearing from him, but then again neither is the lyrical content. The beats are more high pitched and slowed down which somewhat diminishes the quality of the album along with the lyrical content lacking the direct realness that his previous albums contained, but not by much. Not to mention what he is saying is true seeing as how no one in the game really compares. Overall this is another very good album by an artist who is on track to be the greatest and has now shown his ability to significantly diversify his music and make it a success. Full Review »
  3. Mar 7, 2013
    T.I. makes some good and some bad in this extrememly confusing album by T.I. His slow paced scruffy raps get irratating but once he's at it he's good.