T.I. is doing a lot of testifying on his new album, “Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head.” The Atlanta rapper counts his blessings on “Wonderful Life,” expresses gratitude for his relationship with his wife on “Guns And Roses” and takes on faith on a gospel ballad interpolation of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
“Hallelujah” deeply reflects the set’s “Trouble Man” theme. His first lyric references the posttraumatic stress of his incarceration from 2010 to 2011.
“Sometimes I wake up feel like I’m in Forrest City Arkansas,” he rapped about his bid at the Forrest City Correctional Facility. T.I. spent 10 months in the prison after violating his parole in September 2010, six months after being released from a halfway house.
The artist born Clifford Harris said it was difficult serving back-to-back sentences. “I went to jail, stood tall, then I fell again,” he rapped. “It seems like I’m Jonah and right back in that whale again.”
T.I. even admitted to fears. “I felt a panic when they locked me in that cell again,” he rhymed.
In addition to Jonah, T.I. compared himself to a number of biblical figures. He described rising from the bed of death like Lazarus, praying for the strength of Solomon and feeling crucified like Jesus.
Despite losing everything from riches to family, T.I. rapped that he never lost hope.
Instead of leaning on his tough-guy rap persona to prevail, he found solace in his faith and insistence to persevere, making “Hallelujah,” arguably, the most lyrically potent song on the 16-track “Trouble Man” set.