In today’s over-saturated radio, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd when everything sounds so similar. It’s difficult to try to bring new life into a genre, without succumbing to the mainstream clichés. New artist, Bryson Tiller, is trying his hand at reinventing the rap-singing genre. There are not many artists besides Drake that incorporate such a style. The act of rapping and singing at the same time does not come easily, but Bryson Tiller makes an honest effort in his debut album “Trapsoul.”
Tiller’s approach to music is different from most R&B artists we are used to. He sings and raps, but switches styles effortlessly on the tracks. It’s clear that he’s been taking cues from Drake and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, since they are pioneers in that style. When Tiller croons, a listener can feel it. When he raps, his bars and ferocity come to the forefront. It’s his ability to do both that makes him a unique artist and one to watch out for.
The production on the album is smooth, sleek and atmospheric. It leaves behind the synths that many R&B songs have been using all year, and instead focuses on bass heavy hits and ticks for a different sound. Some songs have hints of sonic elements that add to the immersion.
Most of the tracks on “Trapsoul” deal with the struggles of relationships, as well as the hardships of becoming discovered. On the album highlight “Exchange,” Tiller sings about how he’s still in love with his ex. He prays for another chance with her, knowing he did her wrong. “I shouldn’t have played no games with you/ Just left without my rang/ Last time I saw you we didn’t speak that was strange.” “Exchange” also has the best production on the album, using soulful background vocals to add to the drama.
On the lead single “Don’t,” Tiller tries to convince a woman to leave her man for him. “Girl he only f**cked you over cause you let him/ f**ck em’ girl guess he didn’t know any better/ girl that man didn’t show any effort.”
Another album highlight “Overtime,” finds Tiller becoming the man a woman is cheating on her boyfriend with. Tiller begins to fall in love with her, and pleads her to only be his. “Now I done caught feelings worth more than millions/ and I feel it, hurting you and I’m healing/ girl that n**ga ain’t worth it I know you feel me.” It’s hard to not hope Tiller gets the girl, as his delivery and voice really sell the song.
His debut is not without its faults though. Some of the songs were on the short side, making them feel incomplete at times. Tiller can add more depth to his music, so the fact that he didn’t was disappointing. Lyrics on certain tracks feel cheesy and cringe0worthy at times, especially on the rap heavy track “Rambo.”
“I’m a true f**king killa’ like Rambo/no ammo they see me on the sand yo/ n**ga I just kill them cause I can oh.” It is difficult not to press the skip button on a track such as this one. Songs that are more rap heavy are the ones that are the weakest on the album.
The album is at its best when Tiller is constantly switching between rap and singing on tracks about heartbreak and strife. When he uses his emotion to convey a story, Tiller shines. It’s a decent debut for him, but not a great one.