Trouble’s most compelling quality, with no sliver of doubt, is his ability to chronicle. His breathtaking and breakout 2011 mixtape, December 17th, was an exciting short story that served as the introduction to The Big Trouble Baby series. Seven years later, the cinematic Edgewood has been released. If December 17th was an author’s unfiltered, near-refined debut novella, then Edgewood is the blockbuster widescreen adaptation. It isn’t quite a chef-d’œuvre, but it’s certainly that niche-serving cult classic that could propel him to preeminence in the rap game.
Trouble stands broadly with “EDGEWOOD” tatted across the back of his shoulders on the album’s cover art. The dichromatism and symmetrical landscape in front of him is enigmatic, yet it looks menacing. It isn’t the most creative artwork, but a first look feels like a touted experience, as if glancing at the cover is gearing listeners up for a bold, ominous listen.
Edgewood, at 16-tracks long, is connected but not suffocating. The project is murky and strong behind the near-exclusive production from Ear Drummer Records (the label that Trouble is under). Mike WiLL Made-It, one of hip-hop’s mega producers, provides some of the cleanest and most dynamic production of his career on Edgewood. The Drake-assisted “Bring It Back,” the biggest highlight on the project, croaks with vitality behind pounding snares. “Might Not” features a dizzying synth and a destructive chant in the background that sounds like an agitated mob. The theme of sound in Edgewood is horrifying and alienating, on-brand characteristics that help Trouble speak of his come-up and life in Atlanta.
A quick look at the tracklist may bring doubts of Trouble sharing too much of his space, especially with the likes of Drake, The Weeknd, Quavo and Fetty Wap all making cameos. However, Trouble squashes these insecurities by providing taut, slick lyricism on every track, making him the star of each track. “I was duckin’ bullets, shootouts/ me and my guys design your porch” and “I give a fed a Jadakiss/ I rep that north for facin’ shit” are a just a few of the many fascinating lines throughout the album, and these both appear in the wonderful track, “Come Thru.” The project is laden with close-fisted hooks that take shots at all of his haters while recruiting listeners to join in on the savagery.
Trouble’s storytelling on this project is less peachy and more hard-nosed, when comparing it to his other work. Edgewood submarines listeners into a world that is impossible to understand (unless you actually live[d] in it), but Trouble successfully encrusts his listeners with the ne plus ultra of narration, shedding light onto what he knew and how he lived. Edgewood may be a piece about the past, but it is only a matter of time before Trouble brings us his narrating skills when addressing the world of his future quintessence.