Since his release from the belly of the beast this go round, Tip’s been hard at work crashing various remixes, dropping top tier records of his own and respectfully staying out of trouble. With questions surfacing about where all of this hip-hop good will was headed, the King told Billboard that it’s all preparation for his next studio album, Trouble Man.

“I’m embracing it,” T.I. tells me of the persona that is the title of his eighth studio album, “Trouble Man.” A minute into the title track, before I could ask why, Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man” comes through the speakers of Atlanta’s Darp Studio Inc and we both nod our heads in understanding. As Marvin smoothly croons of personal struggles, T.I. smiles and nods his head yes.

“A lot of times I’m taking myself out of my element, ” Tip continued to say of “Trouble Man.” “This is the first project where I’m talking about things that I’ve experienced before that I’m not necessarily experiencing now cause I’m not doing a whole lot of partying. I do a little bit but not alot… nothing like when I was in that life.”

Clearly Clifford knows how to use his time and his muse for this particular project is an easy subject given what he’s been through and self inflicted over the past four years. Still, a lead single in “Pyro” has club appeal written all over it. Thanks to Two Band Geeks, triumphant horns and pounding drums lift T.I.’s spirits in being forced away from a place he used to find solace in. To think, his biggest records from his most successful album had little to do with the club and instead found themselves nestled on Top 40 stations. Who knows, we may get a solid mix of Tip’s best previous work littered on to this latest long player.