Trouble Man is an all-too-apt title for T.I.'s eighth album. In the two years leading up to its release, the Atlanta rapper served an extended prison stay before eventually rebooting his image as a reality TV family man. Oddly and unfortunately, Trouble Man picks up exactly where he left off, as an artist divided between the expectations of the streets and the charts. He's still a tremendous writer when he chooses to be, running down intricate and affecting threads of language like "you numb to it and your heart grow colder/ pacify your pain with a chain and a Rover" in "Sorry," but the energy of his old self only comes in short bursts now. Worse, his song and hitmaking instincts have dried up considerably—the hooks here are mostly forgettable or forced, and the production frequently pantomimes triumph while failing to truly inspire.
Andrew Nosnitsky, Google Play