Castle Walls
by T.I.

Album: No Mercy (2010)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is the second single by American rapper T.I., from his seventh studio album, No Mercy. The reflective song was produced by Alex Da Kid and features pop-singer Christina Aguilera.
  • The song finds T.I. rapping about the downside of fame despite all he has achieved, whilst in Aguilera's hook the singer complains that regardless of all she has in life, she still gets lonely: "Everyone thinks that I have it all/ But it's so empty living behind these castle walls (These castle walls). " This might be a reference to Aguilera filing for divorce from her husband music marketing executive Jordan Bratman on October 14, 2010. It could also refer to T.I.'s extended time in jail. No Mercy was the Atlanta MC's first release since being freed from prison where he served a sentence on weapons charges. Two days before No Mercy came out, he begun another stint in the slammer for parole violations.
  • British producer Alex Da Kid is best known for co-writing both Eminem's hit single "Love The Way You Lie" and Rihanna's sequel, "Love The Way You Lie (Part II)." He gushed to MTV News about this mellow track. "I love it. I think it's amazing. It's my sound, just kind of an evolution of that. I think it'll cater to a lot of different people."
  • American singer-songwriter Skylar Grey wrote the hook and bridge. She is best known for co-writing both Eminem's hit single "Love The Way You Lie" and Rihanna's sequel, "Love The Way You Lie (Part II)."
  • Alex Da Kid said to MTV News of the two stars: "I feel like they both relate to the song: Both T.I. and Christina Aguilera are on a comeback, and they could really relate to the message on the hook. And they're both iconic, to me, so you can never count an icon out."
  • This song was originally slated for Diddy-Dirty Money's debut album, before the Bad Boy boss thought it would be better for T.I., because of his troubles. Tip explained in an interview from jail on MTV's RapFix Live: "A funny thing about this record: It belonged to my big homey Puff first. Puff, he acknowledged it, 'Yeah, this is my record, but you know what, I think this is a better fit for you. I think you should rock out on this one. I think this speaks volumes to where you are, what you going through, what you living and how you feel.'"
  • T.I. explained to RapFix Live how the song was inspired by the controversial year he had experienced, in which he'd exited and re-entered prison: "I live the life that most would die for, but there's a lot of things that come with this life. People don't take that into consideration. There are a lot of things in this life that I would trade in a minute just for a slice of normalcy.
    I just listed a few things that they probably never viewed from that particular perspective," he continued. "Because I think people need to see things another way; they need to see it other than just celebrity."

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