REVIEW: Bryson Tiller – “T R A P S O U L”

Bryson Tiller
RCA Records

In the past week or so Bryson Tiller has exploded on to the national music scene, partially because Drake has expressed major interest in what he’s doing, and partially because Sylvester Stallone has too. Seriously, Sylvester Stallone retweeted his song “Rambo.” He currently holds the top 2 spots on Billboards emerging artists chart and 4 songs in the top 25. Things are happening fast for this 22 year old since the release of T R A P S O U L.

So what does T R A P S O U L sound like? It falls in line with the progressive R&B that’s wildly popular on the radio as the music he makes is reminiscent of artists like Drake, The Weeknd, and ILoveMakonnen. Bryson himself says it’s a new genre mix of trap music and soul, hence the name of the album. Whatever you want to call it, he’s one of the best doing it now.

The beats on this album are simple. 808’s and machine gun hi-hats make up the majority of every song with light layers of keys or samples to fill in the gaps. This leaves room in the final product for Bryson’s voice to be the most important instrument in the song, and trust me, that’s the way you want it. He’s so versatile it’s a joy to listen to him weave in and out of melodies, then rap, and then seamlessly go back into a totally separate melody. The hooks on this album are very understated and it gives the songs a sense of flow that isn’t held down by structure.

One of what I find to be the coolest things about Bryson is how hard he reps Louisville and the state of Kentucky. If you listen to “502 Come Up” he mentions DeVante Parker (wide receiver from Louisville now playing for the Miami Dolphins) and D’Angelo Russell (#2 pick in the NBA draft now playing for the LA Lakers) and how they all three blew up the same year. He also talks about the feeling that the rest of the world couldn’t find Louisville on a map until now when he says, “For years and years we waited on this. Living in a place folks didn’t know exist. Surprise motherfucker, we up in this bitch.” He reps Louisville in some way in nearly every song.

This album took a few listens for me to understand the vibe. Something about the lack of blatant hooks just didn’t catch my ear the first time through. By the third time I listened to it, I couldn’t get enough. It’s literally the only thing I’ve listened to in my car for a week and I drive 2 hours a day minimum. There are four songs I can’t get out of my head, but there isn’t a bad song on the album. My Bryson Tiller top 4 are “Sorry Not Sorry,” “Rambo,” “502 Come Up,” and “Overtime.” Listen to those four and you should have a good idea of what he’s all about. Or you can just wait a month or two and turn on your local hip hop station. He’s going to own that.

Listen to 502 Come Up below: