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T.I. Builds “Castle Walls” with Christina Aguilera

Let’s talk about a song that is good–no, fantastic: “Castle Walls,” a song off of T.I.‘s upcoming studio album No Mercy, produced by Alex Da Kid and featuring Christina Aguilera. (LISTEN)

Just like Eminem‘s “Love The Way You Lie (feat. Rihanna)” (also produced by Alex Da Kid), the only reason we’re listening to this cut is for that emotionally overwrought chorus, which means you’ve got to wait patiently through the plodding, brooding rapped verses from T.I. to get to the actual goods.

But trust me–this one’s completely and utterly worth it.

“Everyone thinks that I have it all, but it’s so empty living behind these castle walls,” Xtina sadly croons as the song opens, “If I should tumble, if I should fall / Would anyone hear me screaming behind those castle walls?”

Then, something amazing happens: A weird, warbling electronic noise fills the silence. T.I. comes in and does what it is that he does above a hip-hop beat, and THEN Xtina comes in again with that chorus–now made even more amazing thanks to some sad string production, a triumphantly striding beat, and that distorted electronica sound in the background. AND IT’S SO GOOD.

But perhaps the greatest thing about this song is the fact that someone’s clearly told Xtina to cut it out with the noodling already–no extended scale runs, no growling, no shouting. It’s understated and GORGEOUS! If only she would do this kind of singing more often. Less is more Aggie…LESS is MORE!

Xtina’s already offered up a summer bomb and a Thanksgiving turkey, but this?

This is truly a winter gem.

No Mercy will be released on December 7. (iTunes)