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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Trouble Man = Pretty Good!
on December 18, 2012
I had to put how I feel about this album in one sentence, it would be this: Trouble Man is a hard hitting album that doesn't let up, and because of that it might be worth buying just a few tracks instead of the whole album.
I grew up loving rap artists like, Dre, Tupac, C-Lo, Ice-Cube and like current artists like Lupe Fiasco, Common and Atmosphere. One thing I liked about TI's previous work was that his music was like a combination of good modern southern rap and old school 90's hip hop.
After listening to the first song on this album I was pretty excited, as "The Introduction" is a great hard hitting song with A LOT of soul. It's actually probably my favorite song on the album. It encompasses TI's troubles and issues in the past few years and how he has worked through them and come out on the other side. I love how it talks about Rap history as well as his history in the game.
TI is quoted on Wikipedia as saying that this album is "harder" then most other stuff coming out right now. He is right, and as he also says it is a creative album, but when listened to all the way through the melodies are quite similar, the bass rumbles in a similar fashion, and his rapping starts to sound monotone, especially when compared to his other albums. My two favorites are "Paper Trail" and "Urban Legend." Both of those albums have great tracks on them, like "Motivation," "Chillin With my B&T*H, "I'm Illy," "Get Loose" and "Live Your Life." I don't believe there is a hit on this album that will find the success that "Live your life" did as there's nothing that gets me tapping my feet on this as do many of the tracks on his other albums.
I will say that the tracks I find the best on "Trouble Man" are in his collaborations with other artists. TI has always made great songs when paired with other artists. Although there is nothing as good as his work with Rihanna and Timberlake, there are some nice tracks that feature his work with other artists:
"G Season" Featuring Meek Mill is a great track with some bounce to it, a great droning bass in the background and just makes me wanna jump around.
"Wildside" featuring A$AP Rocky might be my least favorite collaboration on the album. The catchphrase about "smokin' weed" just isn't that catchy and the song drones on the whole time.
"Ball" featuring Lil Wayne has a catchy beat to it and really well mixed but Lil Wayne and TI sound very similar to each other. The song is saved by some nice variation in the bridge/chorus sections and really nice mixing.
"Hello" with Cee-Lo Green is my favorite collaboration on this album. Cee-Lo's singing really fits the song and, meshes amazingly well with TI's work. The juxtaposition between the verse's and the chorus with Cee-lo is awesome! If you're going to buy one track on this album I'd say it'd be between this and "The Introduction."
"Wonderful Life" Featuring Akon is my second favorite collaboration here. This song is right up there with the track between TI and Cee-lo and it really reminds me of some of the early Wu-Tang clan work. The song also has a great message as he talks about raising his kids up to be adults. I like that TI has taken on the part of being a role model for others after his trials and tribulations, and this comes through strongly in this song.
"Can you learn" featuring R Kelly, A nice track, but disappointed me a little bit compared to the other collaborations on the album. It's a song of redemption for TI as R Kelly asks "Could you learn to love a troubled man." For some reason the chorus and verses don't gel with each other particularly well here. I'd give this track a pass if you're going song for song.
"Sorry" featuring Andre 3000, A hard hitting track that gets very droning and boring after a minute. The chorus and verse aren't varied and the rhymes come in a very monotone manner. Pass.
"Guns and Roses" featuring Pink, This track works well. Pink brings a great style to the chorus and it blends greatly with TI's style. This one really "rocks" in its own way and is well worth a listen. It's probably the "softest" song on the album and is really the biggest variance from the rest of the albums "hard" manner. It's really a breath of fresh air. It reminds me a lot of Lupe Fiasco's early work. Which is a good thing.
The other songs on this album are mostly very hard hitting and maybe not necessarily bad, but it's just not my thing. I tend to like hip hop that has more variance between the verse and chorus that provides some subtlety for the listener and TI by himself largely doesn't do that besides "The Introduction."
If you're trying to decide between buying the whole album or just a few tracks, I would go through the Collaborative efforts on this and see how many of them you like. There are a lot of tracks here, and it may as well be worth getting the whole album for ten bucks then buying seven or eight tracks, but if you listen to the snippets and only connect with four or five as I think many people will, then you'll save some dough.
Overall a nice effort by TI. In interviews lately he seems to have taken on a mature role in the rap community, as a role model and mentor and it comes through on this album, which is great. There are a few gems here, but if listening to the album all the way through there's not always enough variance for me. Recommended if you're willing to go through the album and wittle down a playlist of your favorite tracks.