Old habits die hard. In Tip Harris’ case, old bad habits are immortal demons that he must come to accept as a part of his daily existence, regardless of the consequences that they may cause him to pay. Fresh off probation, T.I. comes to grips with his bankhead, dope boy lifestyle that has repeatedly sidetracked his career with legal woes on Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head the best way he can: by accepting it as a part of who he is, and paying for the consequences as they come.
“The Introduction” gets his priorities straight by listing his daily dealings of balling out, getting blowed, and not giving a hoot over a soulful sample of Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man”. Producer Cardiak adds to his flourishing resume of bangers on “G season”, which finds T.I.’s former protégé Meek Mill getting outshined by his former boss, who addresses the media probing into his personal life.
“F*ck what they say about my cases/ f*ck what they say about my lady/ f*ck what they say what were doing on that day of visitation/ All I care about is my out-date, and the nature of this probation/How much dough I’m second making/ where I’m going on vacation?”
“Trap Back Jumpin” is a return of Bankhead Tip’s Trap Muzik, which reminds his naysayers that he still has not forgotten the recipe for those dope lines and hard bass. Literally. T.I. sounds right at home on the Lousiana’s bouncing “Ball”. His precise and spit fire flow out-bounces even Wayne’s New Orleans-bred cackles so well that it seems like T.I. could have been the long, lost Hot Boy. The auto-tuned hook on “Wildside” seems out of place, which is ironic since its producer, No ID, was believed to have killed off the trendy program as Hov’s accomplice on “D.O.A”. Bad auto-tune hooks also make it hard to take “Cruisin” seriously, and the unfocused Neptunes production on the Cee Lo-assisted “Hello” is confusing.
It wasn’t ’til The King of the South found himself next to fellow Southern royalty, Andre 3000, on the Jazze Pha-produced “Sorry” that he really elevates his multi-syllabic Southern drawl. Triumphant horns and gentle keys ring as Tip rips into a victorious verse of an unapologetic hustler that justifies his rich gains for putting up with the backstabbers and perpetrators.
3 Stacks once again does not disappoint as he delivers another soul baring/introspective verse, which starts off him sniping about why he shuns the spotlight, and apologizing to Big Boi for the lost funds and OutKast fans that may have resulted from his hermit habit.
“I hated all the attention so I ran from it/…I hope we ain’t lose no fans from it/I’m a grown *ss kid/ You know I ain’t care about no damn money/ Why did we try so hard to be stars, just to dodge comets?”
Andre continues his streak of being the highlight of an another MC’s album, once he stops his riveting rhymes to address the internet blogger who might find personal testimony boring.
Yet it’s hard for one to stay bored with hi and such other well-balanced songs on Trouble Man. Whether you’re a dope peddler, lyrical technician, or a club-hopper, there is something to be enjoyed on this album.
If you don’t care for T.I.’s topics of balling-out, dope pushing, and living life on the edge, you have to take note of his ability to make such a well-balanced effort. On this album, T.I. has learned that there is No Mercy for the punishment of his vices that he commits on his personal Paper Trail – so he embraces the heavy burden. Trouble Man is not an apology for past troubles or controversy, but rather the testimony of a man who revels in it and has accepted the consequences that come along with it, for better or worst.