By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated November 23, 2010 at 05:27 PM EST

Image Credit: Arnold Turner/WireImage.comT.I. is back in prison, but he’s still proceeding with plans to release his album No Mercy on Dec. 7. The track that just leaked online should help rev up his fans. It’s called “Welcome to the World,” and it features Kanye West and Kid Cudi, two of T.I.’s most talented peers in rap right now.

The vibe is suitably dark given T.I.’s current situation. West introduces the listener to a lifestyle defined by “fast money, fast cars” but also “fake smiles” over an unnerving piano loop. “If you’re looking for your real love, you won’t find it here/If you’re looking for your real love, well, good night my dear,” he says caustically. “If you’re looking for real love, don’t come around here,” adds Cudi through heavy reverb. Man, these guys don’t make being a world-famous rap star sound like any fun at all.

T.I. kicks a typically nimble verse, full of the chattering flows and casual threats that are second nature to him. But the verse on this song that everyone’s going to be talking about belongs to West. He sounds as furious and focused as I’ve ever heard him here. “You must not really know where I come from/Exactly where my heart,” West raps, his voice rising in intensity. “Or you would never, never, NEVER — where do I start?” After addressing the moronic rumors that he’s part of some Illuminati secret society, he moves to an even more sensitive topic: T.I.’s legal troubles. “They’d rather see a n—- locked up,” West says of unnamed critics. “Why? For stupid s—/Look how they did my n— Tip/Soon as Wayne get out, Tip go in.”

Right now it’s just an unofficial leak, but a rep for T.I.’s label confirms that “Welcome to the World” will appear on No Mercy. That’s great news. Have you heard “Welcome to the World”? How do you like it?

(Follow The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More on the Music Mix:

T.I.’s No Mercy due in December

EW’s review of Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

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