Tuesday evening (October 23) in New York City belonged to T.I., as the Trap King himself previewed a selection of tracks off his upcoming eighth studio album Trouble Man. The event was held in NYC’s cozy Germano Studios, where Tip played ten songs for industry tastemakers and label executives. Guest appearances from T.I.’s wife Tiny, David Banner and comedian Lil Duval also added to the upbeat, casual environment. “One thing about my life that is certain,” T.I. said, “is trouble.” Having arguably been “out of trouble” recently, the ATL native said now was the perfect time to unveil this particular project.
Trouble Man mixes the perfected trap sound of Trap Muzik with the mainstream sensibility of Paper Trail, a combination that T.I. likes to refer to as a “hybrid” of vintage T.I. with present-day T.I. The Intro samples Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man” (though T.I. says the project isn’t named after Gaye’s classic). On the title track, R. Kelly belts the two words “trouble man” while Tip runs laps around DJ Montay’s production. “Somebody That I Used To Know” samples Gotye’s hit, and features Kendrick Lamar, along with Grand Hustle signee B.o.B. While Bobby Ray is currently the only Grand Hustle artist on Trouble Man, T.I. assures that may change. The recently released “Ball” with Lil Wayne will also be featured on the project.
However, T.I. seems most pleased with his return to the trap, found on the DJ Toomp-produced cuts “Trap Back Jumping” and the aggressive “Who Want Some,” which Tip affectionately refers to as the “What You Know” of this project. No I.D. checks in on the beats for “Wild Side” featuring A$AP Rocky, and T-Minus crafts the soundbeds of “Address” and the P!nk-featured “Guns & Roses,” which T.I. hopes will be the “big” song of the album. “Hello” features Cee-Lo and is produced by Pharrell Williams, who called in the middle of the listening session to alert T.I. that people were tweeting about it.
The biggest surprise on Trouble Man, though, comes in the form a track called “Sorry,” produced by Jazze Pha and features lengthy bars from fellow ATLien Andre 3000. T.I. advised that he’s been waiting to work with 3000 since 2006’s King. “Six years later I get a call and he’s ready,” T.I. says of Mr. Benjamin where he also argues that Andre, “S**t on me on my own damn record.” The album is still a work in progress, but the aforementioned songs along with “How Wonderful Life Is” are definites.
Trouble Man arrives on December 18th via Atlantic/Grand Hustle Records.