|Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head|
|Studio Album by||T.I. (rapper)|
|Released||December 18, 2012|
|Genre/Style||Gangsta rap, Southern hip-hop|
|Label||Grand Hustle, RCA|
|Producer(s)||Clifford "T.I." Harris (exec.), Jason Geter (exec.), 1500 or Nothin', DJ Toomp, Earl & E, Jazze Pha, Lil C, Mars, Pharrell, Rico Love, Planet VI, T-Minus, Nikhil Seetharam, DJ Montay, Chuck Diesel, Tommy "TBHITS" Brown, Travis Sayles, Sanchez Holmes, Cardiak, Chinky P, Sir Clef, Brian Kidd, The Futuristiks|
|Last album||No Mercy|
|This album||Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head|
|Next album||Trouble Man II: He Who Wears the Crown|
Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head is the eighth studio album by American hip hop recording artist T.I.. The album was released on December 18, 2012, under Grand Hustle and Atlantic Records.
After being released from prison in August 2011, T.I. began making up for lost time, appearing on remixes for everyone from Jay-Z and Kanye West ("Niggas in Paris") to Ke$ha ("Sleazy") as well as recording 86 tracks for Trouble Man. In an interview with Rolling Stone, T.I. previously stated he was debating between two titles for the album, Kill the King and Trouble Man. T.I. later revealed to Billboard the title of the album to be the latter. The title was partly inspired by Marvin Gaye’s 1972 song of the same name.
When T.I. was asked about titling his album the same name as that of a Marvin Gaye song he said: "I felt like at that moment in time, Marvin Gaye's life embodied what the word 'Trouble Man' and what the song meant in all senses of the word. And today... I feel like the past six, seven years of my life, and the adversity...in my life that I have endured and overcame, that is synonymous and it embodies what the word 'Trouble Man' means today. Marvin Gaye did it for them back then, and I'm doing it for us right now," added T.I.. "Nothing but love and respect, and nothing but salutations and respect to Marvin Gaye and his whole family."
When T.I. spoke on the feel of the album he stated: "It has a more balanced blend of that vintage ' U Don't Know Me,' 'Top Back,' Trap Muzik sound with some of the more mainstream radio records that you heard from Paper Trail. It's more of a cohesive blend." In an interview with Rap-Up, T.I. revealed his thoughts on the album and claimed: "I think it’s a lot more urban than Paper Trail, and less apologetic than No Mercy. I think it’s more diversified than T.I. vs. T.I.P. though. It’s got a lotta heart, it’s got a lotta edge. It’s a creative album. It’s probably harder than most of the shit that’s coming out right now.
On October 23, T.I. held an NYC listening session, during which he described the inspiration for the album: "I've learned that one thing about my life that is certain is trouble...Be that as it may, I shall embrace that fact and not evade it. We all have faults. Before I let you stand on your high horse and point a finger back down at me, I'm going to give you a big, stiff 'Fuck you.'" On Power 105's The Breakfast Club, T.I. hinted that Trouble Man could be his last album, explaining that he wanted to quit rapping, believing that it's not how it once was:
Recording and productionEdit
In an interview on October 19, West Coast rapper Kendrick Lamar revealed that he recorded a song with T.I. for the album. The song reportedly also features B.o.B and samples Gotye's hit single "Somebody That I Used to Know". The song's mass appeal attracted T.I. to the sample: "The record's just jamming. When I heard the twist they put on it, man, it was kind of a no-brainer." T.I. also chose the record for it's crossover ability, which he has always been successful with in the past: "It sounds like hip-hop with an international twist to it, and I'm known for taking those types of records and bridging that gap between what we do and what they do," he explained, dropping in a couple of examples. "From M.I.A.'s 'Paper Planes' to 'Swagga Like Us,' we took [Crystal Waters'] 'Gypsy Woman' for 'Why You Wanna.'" Over the drum-heavy sample, Lamar and Bobby Ray join T.I. in sharing some nostalgic stories, which he says reminds him of some of a few renowned MCs and their classic projects: "[We're] taking turns on our story about a female that we knew years, years, years ago before we were who we are today. It kinda puts me in the mind of the 'Da Art Of Storytellin' [and The Art of Storytelling] from Outkast and Slick Rick. It puts me in the mind of that." The song, which failed to make the album's final track listing probably due to sample clearances, is titled "Memories Back Then". On December 17, 2012 T.I. stopped by Sway Calloway's Sway In The Morning radio show to promote the album, while there he premiered "Memories Back Then".
In a December interview with Rap-Up, T.I. shared details about his collaboration with singer-songwriter Pink on the T-Minus-produced "Guns and Roses," which he describes as a "bittersweet romantic story." "We found that we had a few things in common," says T.I. of the pop-rocker. "We clicked. She real people, she from the streets. I’m a real cat, I’m from the streets. We found ourselves in rooms where we were like, ‘You know what? These people fake as hell in here. Let’s get out of here.’" In a listening session at NYC's Germano Studios, where T.I. played ten songs from the album for industry tastemakers and label executives, he stated he had big hopes for the song.
T.I. was also able to work with fellow Atlanta rapper, Outkast's André 3000 for the first time after years of trying to collaborate: "We've been trying to put this particular collaboration together since the King album. Every album since King I've called Andre and been like 'Hey, I'm working on an album, let's get together.' And he'd say 'Okay, let's see what we got that makes sense.' And we've met a handful of times. This is the first time that it ... came together. I'm extremely proud, honored, and privileged." And while T.I. admits that André 3000 out shined on "Sorry," he’s not mad: "He did get down on me on my record, I can’t front," laughs Tip. "But to me I’m honored and it’s a pleasure that he would even choose my record to do that on." The song was co-produced by former Grand Hustle intern Sir Clef alongside Jazze Pha, the latter of whom has helmed tracks for T.I. such as "Chooz You" and "Let's Get Away".
T.I. also worked with his former Grand Hustle signee, Philadelphia-based rapper Meek Mill on the album. Before Rick Ross signed him to Maybach Music Group and he cut off his braids, T.I. took the Philadelphia rapper under his wing and showed him the ropes: “He was around to observe a lot and he took it and he used it to his advantage, which is extremely commendable." They ended up recording “G Season”. “‘G Season’ is basically just two cats who are cut from a different cloth, separating themselves from the suckers,” T.I. told Rap-Up TV. This collaboraton would come together after they met each other at the club. T.I. said in an interview that Jay-Z was originally supposed to be featured on "G Season".
On “Can You Learn,” which was originally going to be the title-track, T.I. and R. Kelly talk to the ladies from a different perspective: "This record sounds to me like what you would expect to hear if Tupac collaborated with Nate Dogg,” said T.I. of the DJ Montay-produced track, which was inspired by his own leading lady, Tameka "Tiny" Cottle. "I really feel the connection between the music and the listener, especially if the listener is a lady or a gentleman who has had a lady who stuck by him through all of the ups and downs, the peaks and valleys that life has to offer. She’s proven herself to be a rider."
Production on the album was also handled by T.I.'s longtime friend and frequent collaborator DJ Toomp. Toomp produced two tracks, "Trap Back Jumpin" and the aggressive "Who Want Some," which T.I. affectionately referred to as the "What You Know" of this project. High-profile record producer No I.D. also worked with T.I. on their first collaboration together, "Wildside" featuring Harlem rapper ASAP Rocky.
Release and promotionEdit
In preparation for the album's release, T.I. released a promotional mixtape titled Fuck da City Up, on January 1, 2012. During a sit-down with XXL, T.I. revealed a few collaborations for the album, including a song with André 3000 and announced R. Kelly to be featured on the title track. After initially announcing that the album would be released on September 4, 2012, T.I. announced on August 3, that it would be pushed back to a later date in 2012. He also stated that the reason for the delay was because he was still deciding between 86 different songs for the final album. On October 23, 2012, T.I. previewed twelve tracks from the album at its listening party in New York City, and also revealed their titles. The tracks previewed feature artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Cee Lo Green, André 3000, B.o.B, R. Kelly and ASAP Rocky.
List of singlesEdit
- "Go Get It" Released: July 17, 2012
- "Ball" Released: October 16, 2012
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