accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Tuesday Tunes: Spotlight on T.I.

T.I.-Trouble Man Heavy is the HeadT.I.’s “Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head” was delayed so many times, fans started to wonder what he could possibly be doing.

Creating a mighty robust record, it turns out.

A week after Big Boi unleashed his stellar “Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors,” another of Atlanta’s elite rappers returns with his eighth solo album, his first since 2010’s lukewarm “No Mercy.”

On “Trouble Man,” inspired by Marvin Gaye’s 1972 song of the same name, T.I. enlists a parade of guests, including his first official collaboration with Atlanta kingpin Andre 3000 on “Sorry,” a song that chugs along until Andre shows up and blows through your headphones with his sonic boom of a rap.

It doesn’t matter how musically adventurous T.I. is because his words deserve the spotlight. Still, the ominous keyboards that anchor “Trap Back Jumpin’” give the song a sophisticated cinematic-villain feel, while the heavy rock backbeat of “Wonderful Life,” featuring another Atlanta staple, Akon, crooning a sample of Elton John’s “Your Song,” demonstrates T.I.P.’s ear for melody.

Elsewhere, he sheathes “Hello” in a spunky Latin coating (Cee Lo Green pops up for a few lines) and on “Ball” with Lil Wayne, embraces his friend’s affection for that New Orleans bounce.

But, as usual, T.I. has plenty to say, and while he spent most of “No Mercy” apologizing for his transgressions, here he is resolute.

“I got to do what I got to do,” he announces on “Trap Back Jumpin’,” then laments the bittersweet loss of a relationship with Pink on “Guns and Roses” (“Even love couldn’t save us”), a song with a giant chorus that will work perfectly during his live shows.

The centerpiece of the album – recorded in various studios around Atlanta – is the R.Kelly-guesting “Can You Learn,” which foreshadows T.I.P.’s 2008 arrest, then continues with his shrug that he doesn’t care about living his life in the public eye, but acknowledges, “the danger’s so excitin’,” about his well-documented street life. Kelly swoops in with a soulful refrain reminiscent of the Gaye song that inspired T.I. for this record, spotlighting the moral questions of the song with his prodding chorus.

T.I.’s growth on this album – as a lyricist and as a man – is blindingly apparent. You could say it was worth the wait.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

49 comments Add your comment

Sluggo

December 18th, 2012
6:03 am

Correct me if I am wrong, but does the illustration above appear to show T.I. holding a gun in his hand? Is that the message he desires to send ? A young man toting a gun?

Toni

December 18th, 2012
8:29 am

here comes the haters!!!!

NoHaterHere

December 18th, 2012
9:04 am

Could we all just please retire the “HATER” label? It has really run its course. Anyway, he probably should have reconsidered his album cover and trust me there are valid reasons why…..

no skills required

December 18th, 2012
9:04 am

Toni not hating just saying…once again we’ll hear how T.I. represents the inner city kid and the ability to lift himself from an impoverished beginning to a man of wealth and means in this rough and tumble world. Well for every T.I. there are 20 kids out here making it happen by going to school, playing sports and staying away from this countries judicial system. They’re going to college or trade school and starting their own businesses without having to appeal to the lower common denominator in society. But hey what do I know the “hood” life sells so the companies keep selling it. Is he a menace to society? probably not. Most of his pitfalls have cost only him several years incarcerated. But yet and still we glorify this guy. One more time black people wake up. We can do more than rap, sing, dance and act. We need to glorify our engineers, lawyers, doctors etc. As long as it makes them money the V103s and the Hot 97s will continue to pimp these kids. What’s sad is most of these so called gangsters grew up in decent middle class homes, but that don’t sell so they put on the facade of the trap life.

Stone- Black Man, Father of 3

December 18th, 2012
9:34 am

Well stated NSR.

Don928

December 18th, 2012
9:49 am

Well if you all feel that way, why are you clicking your mouse on information pertaining to TI? It is quite OBVIOUS that you are VERY, VERY interested in this man so stop fronting about it. You being here is the reason why the word HATER will never be played out….it is still alive and kicking, LOL!

OldSchooHipHop

December 18th, 2012
9:56 am

I’m not buying the album I never do. Another example of “have money, get off easy”…I wish him well, but I’ll still with some Miguel, Usher, Tyrese, The Roc Clique, and few others. 8 albums deep and you still rapping about the “trap, dope game, etc.” where they do that at, elevate your game you got the skills to do it.

GaPeachy

December 18th, 2012
10:01 am

I have been a big fan for a long time, and am going to pick it up on my lunch break today. His show family hustle is awesome, and his books are actually pretty good so I will continue to support. He has done some stupid things, but we all have, I just want to enjoy some good music! The track Hello with Cee-Lo is a beast! BANKHEAD!!!!!!

perry homes girl

December 18th, 2012
10:01 am

I too was surprised that the album cover appears to be a pic of him holding a gun. He hasn’t changed a bit.

The Playmaker

December 18th, 2012
10:09 am

I am not judging the guy, but seen him on a few reality shows acting one way like a guy that says he has change. But when you listen to the man’s music it is a big contradiction. I understand these guys are about making money and will do whatever they have to do to sell their product to make a buck. I just don’t like when you do reality shows for example the reality show he had years back which was called Road to Redemption. In this show he acted as a mentor which was good trying to set an example, but his music did not line up with a lot of the lessons and conversations that he was having with the young men that was on the show.

Nina Ross

December 18th, 2012
10:35 am

Look, no matter how much you hate it, T.I. has paved the way for artist in Atlanta. You complain that he’s still rapping about the dope game and stuff, but have you ever wondered who he is marketing to? Not only that, but HELLO!! We’re in Atlanta!!! There is a hood/ trap around every corner; that’s his market. And btw, if you don’t have to listen to it.

True Fan of TI

December 18th, 2012
10:41 am

Keeping It 100…he should have chosen a different cover for the album. I don’t agree with him holding what appears to be a gun.

MUZIKHEAD

December 18th, 2012
10:58 am

Ok, do you all actually think that a cover is the determining factor if a person has changed or not. Please, you all are in Left field waiting on a Bunt hit…….It is about revenue, contradiction sells….simple? So should he have on school boy glasses, Shirt and tie, and the album should be called “I’m the best Dad ever”…..No make music that the at-risk inner city kids relate to(live). So, until you derive from where he came from “Don’t Judge…..Hater!” JS

no skills required

December 18th, 2012
11:26 am

Muzikhead…you just explained one of the ills in our society, at risk inner-city kids looking to a T.I. for guidance. Plus, you fully understand that 75% of of hip hop music is consumed by caucasians. So there goes your theory of supply and demand. What’s wrong with saying “I’m the best dad ever”? This cd cover screams I’m one dimensional in my music and who I am as a person. In case you have gone to sleep we now have a black President. I believe his path to success is much more profitable and acheivable than trying to sell kids that it’s ok to sag and rap about slinging rocks. It’s all about projecting a positive self image bruh, so if he can’t feel that then I don’t know what to tell you.

Nina Ross…so glad T.I. brought us a whole roster of thought provoking dribble sayers. We never wouldhave known that people sell drugs in the trap if it wasn’t for these guys. How about a song about how to get out the hood? Oh, I forgot, they have no answers. I hope you and muzikhead get together and have kids so they can grow up and work for my kids one day. Stay small

LandOfTheLost

December 18th, 2012
11:37 am

Without Auto-tune, this guy would be in another profession. Just saying.

MusicFabFan

December 18th, 2012
11:44 am

I think no skills required says it all.. When it’s not convenient for you (TI and other artist) you say stay out of my life.. music’s just music.. my businesses is mines… but when it’s time to sell a record… your life is the blueprint… Can we just stick to the music…? I’m sure his rapping is better on this record than the last.. all the hypocrisy and BS he can keep.. he’s no trap boy.. and it’s insane that ppl think it’s okay to use this imagery to profit.. but that’s how it’s been…

Rick James

December 18th, 2012
11:46 am

@OldSchooHipHop

I’m not buying the album I never do. Another example of “have money, get off easy”…I wish him well, but I’ll still with some Miguel, Usher, Tyrese, The Roc Clique, and few others. 8 albums deep and you still rapping about the “trap, dope game, etc.” where they do that at, elevate your game you got the skills to do it.
——————————————————————————————————————————
You’re not buying but took the time to read the story.News Flash,All people with money get off easy or get off.Since you’re still with Usher I’m sure you know how he crushed his ex-wife in his divorce and custody fight.Why? He had more money than she did and could afford better attorneys.Get over it..

Savoy

December 18th, 2012
11:49 am

OMG! Please somebody knock the haters off. I can always rely on Atlantans to ALWAYS knock their own. I LOVE T.I. and yes he has made some very stupid mistakes and has endured trials and tribulations like EVERYONE has Hes just in the public eye. The gun likeness is a metaphor.

Gwendolyn Peeples

December 18th, 2012
11:52 am

The album cover saddens me. It shows no growth at all.

Yola Hollywood

December 18th, 2012
11:59 am

CLASSIC ALBUM. WELCOME BACK KING OF THE SOUTH.

Alee

December 18th, 2012
12:02 pm

I agree with you 100% NSR. And to the one’s who states that’s hating..No, it’s not. TI., has so much to be thankful for. First and foremost His, Our LORD and SAVIOR! I know they say you should never look back, but in his case he should revisit how far he has come not all the time just once in a while, because if it were up to man he wouldn’t be free but only because GOD knows his heart he’s a FREE & Successful young man, owing it to NO one but his LORD and SAVIOR!!! Continue to be BLESSED TI !

Ya Boi

December 18th, 2012
12:06 pm

HELLO! HELLO! HELLLLLOOOO! WAYYY BELOW!

Daniel

December 18th, 2012
12:06 pm

Everytime someone has a criticism, it’s not automatially “Hating”. With 20 children being murdered and 7 adults, it is legitimately a question as to whether this artwork is appropriate. No doubt the Timing is Horrible! But of course, T.I. could not foreshadow what happened in Connecticut.

MIKEAL

December 18th, 2012
12:09 pm

NICE GUN! ALL REAL PLAYAS GOTTA HAVE A GUN! U GOTTA SHOW PPL U A REAL PLAYA! SHOW U GUNS UP! T.I.!

brock

December 18th, 2012
12:11 pm

R. Kelly is in it. Maybe that explains why the album cover is yellow.

ReallySWATL

December 18th, 2012
12:16 pm

Yes this dummy has gun on the front of the album I am going to need you to come up with some more topics of interest or retire because this trap music stuff is so 1996-2000. All I listen to now is R&B listen they tell the truth when they write!!!

Rick James

December 18th, 2012
12:44 pm

Since a lot you slamming this CD cover have no idea who Marvin Gaye is and probably have no idea what Trouble Man is please Google the DVD.That will show you why T.I. chose this cover.

G-dub

December 18th, 2012
12:48 pm

@NSR…You are right on target. The cover is total BS because that convicted felon cannot even own a gun so why even try to play that role. Just another vampire sucking blood out of the hood and he don’t even live there anymore.

T.S.

December 18th, 2012
12:57 pm

I think the album is about his past issues with guns and so on, that’s why it’s titled Trouble Man and he’s holding a gun. So let’s give him a break!!!!

SMH

December 18th, 2012
1:01 pm

Are we really spending time on an album cover? News flash…raise your own kids, and not society do it, and everything will be ok!

T.S.

December 18th, 2012
1:02 pm

I agree SMH!!!

OldSchooHipHop

December 18th, 2012
1:31 pm

@ Rick James, custody of kids vs. corrupting kids, apples and oranges…get real dude! Give ma Nasir and that’s Nas for some of you that don’t know. Give me a Nas album any day over this garbage…especially a “Life is Good” CD…I read the article like any other article, to see was contradictions I would find….c’mon on son.

@Nina Ross, not all of ATL is a trap…NY is just as bad…but Hova elevated and then some….so go figure.

@No Skills Required…good post on your end…

Again, I”ll take a classic Eric B. and Rakim CD any day over this….IJS

SamE

December 18th, 2012
1:33 pm

The album cover is certainly lacking in originality, and yes, I do think it matters! What remains a constant frustration to me is a “gun-obssessed” America. Is Hollywood to blame? I think that’s a lame scapegoat. TI and all the other rappers highlighting the thug life doesn’t help, but at the same time this is sadly a reality for so many people in this country. I think we all need to take a step back and look at the media and entertainment and stop blurring the lines into our reality.

KennesawJay

December 18th, 2012
1:35 pm

Remember, this man was trying to buy MACHINE GUNS and SILENCERS! He wasn’t going rabbit hunting. He was expecting to kill people. And, most likely inner city black folks. Why else would he purchase MACHINE GUNS and SILENCERS? We just had a mass killing in Connecticut and now he releases an album with a gun on it. And, people are actually defending it and his mockery of music. I just don’t understand. But, I keep praying for us all.

GaPeachy

December 18th, 2012
1:36 pm

Just went and got it, really good so far. People its music, OMG please to don’t try to blame society’s ills on a hip hop cd, I mean really, most people end up in the trap because they think don’t have other means to take care of their family not b/c they heard about it in a rap song. I live on Bankhead I know, I see it everyday. Appreciate the music for what it is, u like it or u don’t end of story! TIP thanks for the tunes and your continued time and monetary donations to my and your old neighborhood. Yes he may not live there anymore but visits and gives back regularly but you don’t get those stories on the news.

KennesawJay

December 18th, 2012
1:38 pm

SMH,
The problem is that TI and society are influencing those kids, who then shoot our kids who are being raised to reach higher and further than rapping and shooting.

KennesawJay

December 18th, 2012
1:40 pm

GaPeachy,
Are you saying that TI can send all the negative images and energy he wants to the neighborhood as long as he gives you all some money in return? I’m just trying to understand.

ReallySWATL

December 18th, 2012
1:57 pm

@GaPeachy

Yes he gives pennies to his old neighborhood (yes I am from the WESTSIDE went to Doug High) into comparison to all the death and destruction he talks about in his so called raps while he lives on Lake Spivey, GaPeachy go read a book. Its was perfect timing for him if he was on trial now after the shooting in Conn couldnt no record label, snitching or amount of money could save him.

gagirl

December 18th, 2012
2:02 pm

@No skills required—Not for nothing but did Denzel Washington’s role in Training Day make him a one dimensional actor? Did it represent who he was as a person?? No. He was ACTING. Why are musicians held to a different standard? A lot of singers/rappers don’t write their own music so is that considered less real??? No, it’s still just a song. Why do black folks need for people to live and breathe what they rap about yet when it comes to anything else it’s just their job??? A felony conviction should not be a requirement to sell records (see Drake). I don’t for one nano second believe that Clifford Harris is pulling “kick doors” or that he knows how to stab folks dead yet “keep a clean hand”. Are you kidding me? It’s pretend. Besides, if your child is looking up to T.I. as a role model then you need to step up your parenting game.

Andy

December 18th, 2012
2:10 pm

When is he scheduled to go back to prison again?

G-dub

December 18th, 2012
2:16 pm

@Andy…six months!!!

GaPeachy

December 18th, 2012
2:25 pm

What I’m saying is music like movies and books are an art if his is dark and about guns or drugs then you can either appreciate it for what it is or don’t listen, his charitable giving has nothing to do with what he is “allowed” to put out. I was simply stating that I have personally seen him doing some good in my community and I appreciate it. Geez I’m out you people are crazy!

Andy

December 18th, 2012
2:52 pm

Thanks G-dub! I knew it was soon!

no skills required

December 18th, 2012
3:39 pm

Andy…the over/under was set at 6 months so that looks like a safe bet.

gagirl…Denzel doesn’t get a pass either. The whole Hollywood industry is sick. Quick, name two movies with a predominately black cast that doesn’t have a gun in it. I believe Chuck D said it years ago-”burn Hollywood burn!!” Why don’t you ask an Italian friend how they hate the fact Hollywood stereotypes them into “mobsters”. Look, I understand people need to work and provide for their families, I get that but c’mon enough is enough. Time out for glorifying fake gangstas “holding a pistol, something far from a lover,” when kids emulate that crap. you are old enough to defferentiate but little kids are not. we have to move past this whole notion that the young urban kid has only one outlet for his/her voice to be heard and that’s through rap.

Melissa Ruggieri

December 18th, 2012
4:43 pm

Here’s a video of T.I. explaining the album’s cover art (language alert).

He isn’t exactly apologizing.

http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/t-i-speaks-on-album-art-video.8501.html

G-dub

December 18th, 2012
11:01 pm

@GaPeachy…What do you mean when you say you people?

G-dub

December 18th, 2012
11:01 pm

@GaPeachy…What do you mean when you say you people?

THOMAST

December 19th, 2012
9:52 am

G-dub

December 19th, 2012
11:24 am

@THOMAS ST…The little boys are prime examples of what we are talking about. You can raise your kids best you can and when little thugs like that come and take their life because they imitated what they see on tv. Their pics look very similar to T.I. album cover.