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Bryson Tiller – T R A P S O U L [Album Review]

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It wasn’t too long ago when the Internet started opening gargantuan gateways for artists who would have possibly had no other way to output their creativity. That video on world star or that one track that “went viral” seemingly relate to the swarming buzz that catches fire like a forest and is rapidly shared across the cloud due to its entertainment factor. Meanwhile the Soundcloud epidemic and free-music-generation-takeover have never been hotter. It was such a generation that got Napster, Limewire and other free download websites shut down; we wouldn’t stand to keep paying for all our virtual music (especially at $1.25 per song, iTunes).

Soundcloud came about just a few years ago and has given any average Joe the opportunity to go to the store, pick up home studio equipment, and upload a new track of their own for free live stream by the end of the day. Obviously there are multiple attempts at creating new, fresh sounds for the cloud to stir around, spit-balling the artists that earn it into a swarm of stardom.

Recall back to the nineties where the lines of R&B and up-and-coming hip-hop would never even dare to cross. Where the former was filled with “No Scrubs” and other bed squeaks alike, the latter was filled with angst and anger most of the time. N.W.A. made a masterpiece with Straight Outta Compton but it was an incredibly aggressive record. People knew which genre to approach based on what they knew to expect from what was once crystal clear, black and white. It wasn’t until producers started blending genres in the past decade or so that the lines between the two blurred into oblivion, resulting in shiny, new genres that are consistently output across the board.

In this case, introduce Louisville native Bryson Tiller. At just 22, the young bull has found a way to combine classic, sexy R&B sounds with grimy, fiery raps and trap beats. Even though he wasn’t first to the punch of singing and rapping simultaneously, T R A P S O U L certainly presents a new tone in itself. For instance, see “502 Come Up” next to “Overtime” – Tiller bringing slick ass bars to the table one moment (Louie Slugger with the hits/ knock ‘em out the park then I’m knockin’ down your bitch) and seducing his audience with honesty and an incredible awareness of hard work the next.

Having released the track “Don’t” (which features a Mariah Carey sample mind you) this past summer, Tiller garnered major attention of big name players such as Timbaland and Drake. “The recognition from Drizzy alone, I remember when they slept on me: memory foam” goes Tiller on “Ten Nine Fourteen”. Timbaland would go to produce one of the album’s better tracks “Sorry, Not Sorry” providing young Tiller a platform to get out all of his lyrical motives. The transition from intro to seduction to banger on “Open Interlude” could easily stand alone as one of the best transitions you’ll hear all year. He has a way with his voice that seems to just float along on top of the track like butter; Tiller makes it sound so easy. T R A P S O U L brings some of the best vibes of 2015. Sure of itself as a debut for Tiller, confident not cocky.

Speaking of good vibes, several of the producers for T R A P S O U L are with the good vibe collective themselves, Soulection. Recently working with the legend Rick Rubin, Kaytranada produced the viral piece of the record with “Don’t.” Sango recently dropped Da Rochina 3, and his production pieces have a noticeably consistent snap to them, especially on his contribution “The Sequence.” ATL native Gravez gives us his heat with “502 Come Up”. They have this progression about them that seeks to get the best artists out in the open and on top. Such aid being given to Tiller is literally playing with fire.

Such a strong debut could set up Tiller to only improve from here, but damn has he already set the bar high for himself. But that’s the beauty of where music is today. Sophomore slumps might not happen due to being able to seek inspiration every day on Soundcloud or bandcamp from other artists who all struggle to get out their creativity every day. It’s in this way that creates ties and collaborations between artists on the grind; every lion on the prowl dare crush the lack of inspiration that might ever occur. (I’m coming back for good so let them niggas know it’s mine/ ‘I already got someone’ that’s what you tell ‘em every time/ that shit ain’t up for grabs / where you at on the map?/ I come to where you at/ fuck around and end up your last/ I won’t hold back.) goes Tiller on “Let ‘Em Know,” laying the first brick down into a foundation that has cut the red ribbon into a new era. These are the days of T R A P S O U L.

It’s a solid 9.2.  – Zilla

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