For those who thought that the throne of the self-proclaimed “King of the South” was open; the unveiling of T.I.’s new “Trouble Man,” set to release December 18, proved that the King still reigns.

Held at Houston’s Wire Road Studios, the invite only listening session boasted some of Houston’s own Hip Hop royalty as Tip gave us a glimpse into the mind of a troubled man.

A state of the art studio with the feel of an elegant home, time passed by quickly as we waited for the session to begin, of course the complimentary food and alcohol helped as well.

Don’t judge me, free is free.

Though the “No phones, no pictures,” instructions we received effectively eliminated our dreams of Instagram fame, anticipation built quickly as we filed into the listening rooms.

In a room that boasted everyone from Houston greats Bun B, Slim Thug, and Trae Tha Truth, to the cities newest stars Kirko Bangz, Killa Kyleon, Doughbeezy and Propain; all minds were pondering the same thought, which Tip would we receive? The more repentant T.I. of late or the brash one whose bravado in Urban Legend launched a superstar?

While its clear that he’s both wiser, and mindful of mistakes from the past; Tip is back. He’s made his amends; either take it or leave it. Trouble Man is essentially the no holds barred admission of past guilt and the embrace of the man himself. Flaws and all.

Or as Tip explains, “I don’t have nothing to apologize for. I told y’all I was about that life when I first came into the game.” He adds “I’m not ashamed of who I am and what I’ve done. I’m not gonna run and hide. I am who I am”.

Short Film:
He began the session with a short video (available December 11) that shows Tip envisioning life had he remained in the trap and not gone into music.

An appearance from Curtis Snow of the infamous sleeper hit Snow on the Bluff highlights Tip’s Bankhead neighborhood, and serves as a reminder of just how far he’s come.

Trouble Man:

“The Introduction”
Titled as such due to legal restrictions as Tip explained, the album opens up with a sample of Marvin Gaye’s own 1972 ‘Troubled Man.’ The track is both a reflection of past transgressions combined with fierce “but I made it through” bravado.

Said Tip, “I don’t think I’m better than anyone, I just think that I mesh better with some than others.

Written during his last jail sentence, “G Season” ft Meek Mills stands as a lyrical “fuck you” to critics; while the A$AP Rocky assisted “Wild Side” (produced by No I.D.) “Recalls every time I’ve gotten into trouble,” said Tip.

He then recounted the time he engaged in a high speed chase as a teen before his engine blew out and he was forced to stop. Yes forced; because as Tip told the crowd “I was having too much fun to stop.”

He shines on collaborations with greats like R. Kelly on “Can You Learn,” which reenacts his gun possession arrest; and on “Sorry” featuring Andre 3000. Pushed by the lyrical brilliance of Andre, this is one of the standout tracks off the album.

“Hallelujah” is similar to the Justin Timberlake hit he had with “Dead & Gone,” yet sums up the theme of the album: Admitting mistakes yet embracing the plight of an imperfect man. Lines like, “I reach out for Tameka’s hand, I’m tripping cuz she’s missing” and “The devil took my wife and kids, but he can’t take nothing that God can’t give me back again,” give insight into his thoughts and determination while in jail.

Added Bonus:
A personal introduction of Houston’s own Trae Tha Truth, newest Grand Hustle member. A hometown Hero, Trae went on to debut 3 tracks, and allowed us to vote on which one he wanted to release.

Talk about fan interaction huh?

A bit wiser and much more mature, Tip is no longer seeking the worlds approval, either love him or leave this troubled man alone.

Tracklist:

1. “The Introduction”
2. “G Season” (featuring Meek Mill)
3. “Trap Back Jumpin'”
4. “Wildside” (featuring ASAP Rocky)
5. “Ball” (featuring Lil Wayne)
6. “Sorry” (featuring André 3000)
7. “Can You Learn” (featuring R. Kelly)
8. “Go Get It”
9. “Guns and Roses”
10. “The Way We Ride”
11. “Cruisin'”
12. “Addresses”
13. “Hello” (featuring Cee Lo Green)
14. “Who Want Some”
15. “Wonderful Life” (featuring Akon)
16. “Hallelujah”

Photos by: Clay Bailey (indmix.com / keiserimages.com)

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