Detroit rapper Trick Trick's reputation precedes him. Being linked to beatdowns or chain-snatchings involving the likes of national stars Trick Daddy and Yung Berg, the towering, imposing figure has become the stuff of Motor City legend. Fortunately, his sophomore disc, the aptly titled The Villain, shows that he's got the music to back up the notoriety.
Particularly impressive about The Villain is its do-it-yourself 'tude: The 80-minute disc sees Trick Trick simultaneously rhyming and producing most of the backdrops, helping the album's dark, trunk-rattling sound and its hard-nosed rhymes flow cohesively. Songs like "Follow Me" show conceptual creativity as he raps in pig latin and other dialects, but Trick is at his best when he's executing in familiar, street-savvy territory: The title track finds him showcasing cocky gangsterisms with a no-frills flow, and "Hold On" encourages perseverance while telling his story of hustling to success.
While Trick shows capable solo abilities, the standout songs here are by him with his guests, which reads like a who's who of Detroit rap. Eminem — who Trick previously collaborated with on his runaway hit "Welcome to Detroit" — breaks his rap hiatus to drop a gem on "Who Want It," and the impeccable delivery of Royce Da 5'9" inspires Trick to step his game up on the funky "All Around The World," on which the two chide about the state of music. "Can't F Wit My City" allow him and indie staples Guilty Simpson and MarvWon to represent their hometown, while the Run-DMC tribute "2Geta 4 Eva" satisfies with surprising cameos by Kid Rock, Esham and deceased Detroit rap pioneer Proof.
Trick's song with his crew the Goon Sqwad is titled "You Can Get F'ked Up," but The Villian proves that musical adversaries have just as much to worry about as his physical ones do.
William E. Ketchem writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.