Bryson Tiller, ‘T R A P S O U L’ [ALBUM REVIEW]
Bryson Tiller is back and he's better -- just listen to "Don't" if you're not a believer. "Trap soul," his self-described sound on the song, also serves as the moniker of his debut album. OG fans may notice that T R A P S O U L takes on more of a rugged appeal than the soothing, Trey Songz-esque mixtape Killer Instinct released in 2011. Drum kits and 808s make the difference in the Louisville, Ky. native's approach these days.
Spacey sounds fill the 14-track album, a project that features no collaborations, allowing Tiller to shine on a proper debut. This creates an atmosphere for introspection and laid-back vibes. But songs like "502 Come Up," detailing the newcomer grinding for what's rightfully his, can also get listeners up and motivated.
"For years and years we waited on this / Living in a place folks didn't know exist / Surprise motherf---er we up in this bitch / I said I'm back and I'm so much better / I'm so, so much better / And I won't stop (Louis)," he rhymes over a shoulder-bouncing beat filled with the tinkling of bells.
"Sorry Not Sorry" proves to be a standout as well with a sample from the classic video game, Street Fighter. Produced by Tiller himself, the crooner's braggadocio is apparent as he serenades his love interest. The announcer yells "Fight" before Tiller, who continues to dance between singing and rapping, gets into the XXX-rated love tune, which is likely a creative metaphor representing love as a battlefield.
"Every n---- did you wrong, except for me / I'm next to blow and so you should've been next to me / Say you love sick, girl I got the remedy / I'll give you long d--- and longevity / Don't settle for less or for infidelity," he sings.
Watch Bryson Tiller's 'Don't' Video
With that nod to his gaming side, Tiller isn't afraid to throw references to his nerdom in his music -- making him more versatile and relatable to Japanese anime-heads or comic book aficionados. He especially makes references to the '90s anime staple Dragon Ball Z.
However, it's swoon-worthy tracks like "Don't" and "Exchange" that have proven to be the fan favorites, and for good reason. The Dopeboi-produced "Don't" finds Tiller trying to catch a girl whose lover broke her heart while on "Exchange," the crooner reminisces on the good times of a past relationship.
But another gem lies in "Been That Way." The slow burning, mellow beat is matched with head-nodding drums as he displays his vulnerability: "I wanna know how we became so distant girl / The way we fell in love it was almost instant." He follows up with: "I try not to think about you / What can I say, every time I get near you / I want that old thing back, now bring it to me." He confirms that it's "always been that way."
The album closer, "Right My Wrongs," completes the musical journey with a more traditional R&B sound. The 22-year-old flexes his songwriting skills here by using his own faults as a catalyst for change. He also enlists the tender vocals of an unknown woman, serving as a solid contrast to his own voice. "Could it be you calling me down? / My foolish heart turns at the stars / All that I am is all that you see / You don't need nobody else, and you're putting this all on me, forgive me," they sing together.
T R A P S O U L works on a number of levels. Whether it's a turn up moment or being all up in the feels, each song resonates for a specific occasion. For hopeless romantics who are trappers at heart, this is also their soundtrack. "Ten Nine Fourteen," a candid track that sounds more like a freestyle TiIler let off in the booth, is indicative of his mindset as a whole on this project. "My n---- give me the throne," he delivers. He certainly isn't ready to be crowned king, but he's already proving himself as a likely heir.
Listen to Bryson Tiller's "Exchange"
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