So the King is back for those who were doubting it. TI is one of the most influential Atlanta rappers ever. Even through all of his trials and tribulations he is still one of the most popular rappers to hit the scene. He has a huge catalog but since his release from his last prison stint there were questions. The music just wasn't there, then there was the fact that he has been spending so much of his time building his empire with other artists and doing the Family Hustle with his wife and kids. With the release of his new album, "Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head" TI is out to prove he can still deliver.
The album starts with a wonderful soul sample of Curtis Mayfield and mix of production on "The Introduction". This is the TI we seem to love though it isn't anything new lyrically, he controls the beat and brings you into the album the right way. "G Season" is trite however. The beat is ok but nothing too crazy and Meek Mill who is featured is getting exceptionally tiresome with his same as usual verses. TI is intent on letting you know that he isn't to be slept on no matter what you think of him and his past. This is especially evident on "Trap Back Jumpin" which is a new Trap anthem. I'm not a fan of rappers regressing to such well covered topics like selling dope when they have moved so far from that, however, this song is an exception.
"Wildside" starts with a skit about TI and some partners getting chased by police. The song features ASAP Rocky and while TI talks about how he has always walked on the more dangerous side of things and loves it, ASAP is more focused on some swag rap stuff. "Ball" with Lil Wayne is very forgettable though it is a throwback to older New Orleans sounds. "Sorry" with Andre 3000 is of course a standout track. While TI puts forth some above average verses, he makes due riding the beat and his style while once again 3 stacks manages to murder another track. R. Kelly teams up on "Can You Learn" which follows a reenactment of TIp's much publicized arrest before the BET awards. The song is about whether or not a lady can learn to love a guy who is always in trouble in some sort of way.
"Go get it" reminds me of 'Top Back' and "The Way We Ride" has a throwback southern-Houston type of feel to it. "Guns and Roses" with Pink is aimed square to the Top 40. "Cruisin'" ia channeling the pseudo-singing of whatever you like. Some folks will like it, some will skip it. TI takes it back to the streets on "Addresses" letting you know he's about that action. "Hello" with Cee-Lo is more of the celebratory type of song but it isn't extra happy. "Who Want some" is a bit boring but "Wonderful Life" with Akon, has TI having fictional conversations with his father and his best friend Philant who was killed a few years back. "Hallelujah" is a summation of his life and his most recent troubles.
T.I. always makes solid albums but this one falls just short of greatness. Yeah, he has some classic trap music, but I'm bored with that. I want to hear more of the growth and push forward as well. This album is spent trying to show that the Family Hustle may be a show, but don't forget that TI is still from the streets. I get so bored by songs like G Season that are just normal, when at the very least he shows the ability to spin them like on "Can You Learn" and even "Wildside" though that isn't one of my favorites. At this point in a career, I hold certain artists to a standard based upon prior work. While this new album is listenable, I kind of doubt it's overall staying power. The one thing that did stand out was the lack of appearances by the rest of the Grand Hustle Roster, no Iggy Azalea, B.O.B, or Trae the Truth.