Trouble is defined in a few different ways in the American English dictionaries. I think the one (or ones) that stands out most to me are these:
Difficulty, annoyance or harassment.
Something or someone that is cause or source of disturbance, or conflict.
Whichever definition you look at, trouble has an automatically negative connotation. So why is that so many of from ages one to one hundred find ourselves looking for trouble? Because...trouble is sexy. Think about it for a second. Girls for the most part find themselves attracted to the bad boys who usually bring you nothing short of trouble. Conversely guys, whether we say it or not, secretly (and most times publicly) LOVE bitches (bitches here not as a connotation for the female gender but females who are acting like a bitch in general practice).
Kids get in trouble all the time and more often than not so do adults.
All this leads to make this statement: Trouble is beautiful.
When I titled the article thusly I wasn't referencing that. To be honest, the aforementioned words are the set up to talking to speaking the latest work by Atlanta rapper and resident King Of The South T.I. His latest effort, Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head proves exactly what I've been saying. As with any of T.I.'s albums it is an amazing mixture of intensely thoughtful words, Southern dipped bragging, and stories of his life. I have been so hungry for Trouble is my life that I've personally been robbing banks and riding in dark cars with drug dealers. (Of course I haven't. I was attempting to be clever.)
To be fair, I will look past two tracks on the album, "Trap Back Jumpin'" and "Ball" if for no reason other than they have been getting heavy radio play and you already know at this point whether you like those tracks or not. Instead I will focus on four other amazing tracks.
"Sorry" is a cool track based on beat at first. T.I. comes through with another amazing set of verses. What else added to the sub zero temperature of the song was a hook that was sang with something that I cannot put my finger on but can tell you it's amazing. Finally we have the utter chill vibe that is André 3000. 3 Stacks does what he does and adds more lyrical validity to an already legit song. Now all I need from him is a solo album. But, I digress.
"Guns And Roses" was something surprising to me. When I say P!nk and T.I., it sounds as though it shouldn't work. But damned if it doesn't. The track sounds as if it was pulled from P!nk's catalogue but T.I. comes through with the smooth flow and reminds you where you are. Just as you're lulled into a calm, a powerful hook from P!nk wakes you up and compliments his words so well I blushed. Just hearing this makes me think they should do this again and more often.
"Hello" is produced by Pharrell Williams as evident by both the sound and Williams' ad libs punctuating T.I.'s words. And the hook? Done to excellence by none other than Cee Lo Green, still proving he's a soul machine. Everything about this track works. I need say nothing other than put it on repeat a few times.
"Hallelujah" is, strictly speaking, the shortest track on the album. But that is completely offset by the fact it's one of the most personal. It speaks of T.I. growing beyond the bad things to be better. All this is said over biblical references of Job, Jonah, and Jesus as well as a heavenly hook that cannot be described as anything else.
We all know that T.I. has been trouble in his life but this album truly proves that trouble is the most beautiful thing, especially when it can be focused into something good.
Lucius Black for Royalty Magazine
Lucius Black for Royalty Magazine