RapReviews | Review: T.I. – Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head

TI - Trouble ManThe 1972 blaxploitation film, Trouble Man was the story of a private detective that simply went by the name of T. He also does what he can to help people in the neighborhood…but never for free. Eventually he is framed for the murder of a local crime boss’ man, setting off a city-wide war. Tons of double crossing abound, but at the end of the day, everyone learns that you don’t mess with Mr. T. The score and soundtrack were produced and performed by Marvin Gaye, who was making his first foray into the world of blaxploitation cinema. Fast forward to 2003 and we have a new T, T.I. to be more specific, who had dropped his second album, “Trap Muzik.” Although he was fresh off of what I like to refer to as his coming out party on Bone Crusher’s “Never Scared” and his own “24s,” there was another song that caught my ear. I often like to say I predicted that the David Banner-produced “Rubber Band Man” would be a hit, and it was. A portion of the hook to the song goes like this:

“Call me Trouble Man
Always in trouble, man
Worth a couple hundred grand
Chevys, all colors man”

Fast forward to 2012 and we can certainly say that Tip has seen his fair share of trouble over the years. I’m also sure that the “couple hundred grand” has ballooned quite a bit and there’s much more than Chevys in the Harris family garage now. The ongoing battle between T.I.P. and T.I. has been well chronicled, so I won’t really get into the specifics here. In fact, some of the incidents make their way onto the album in the form of short skits. So here we are now…T.I. is out of prison and off of probation. Will the result be something closer to “Urban Legend” or “No Mercy?”

“Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head” features guest appearances from Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Pink, Lil Wayne, Akon, R. Kelly, Cee-lo Green and Andre 3000. Production is provided by the likes of DJ Toomp, Jazze Pha, T-Minus, Pharrell, Hit-Boy and No I.D. among others. The album art looks like it’s straight out of a film starring Fred Williamson or Jim Brown. Continuing the “Trouble Man” theme, upon beginning the album, the first voice we hear is that of Marvin Gaye on “The Introduction.” The track is an unapologetic realization that T.I. is going to be who he is and there’s no change in sight. The “call me Trouble Man” line from 2003 re-emerges and is reworked to fit the song here as well. We get more of the same on the Meek Mill-featuring “G Season” and “Trap Back Jumpin.” There’s something about T.I. over a Toomp track that makes the listener wish that he would have handled a larger share of the production and that’s the case with the latter of the two tracks here. Beginning with the slow-rolling “Wildside,” the album presents short skits seemingly representative of trouble in various points of Tip’s life.

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