The past three years have been something like a climax for Louisville, Kentucky’s very own, Bryson Tiller. From the release of his very first album, T R A P S O U L, to receiving a Platinum title for his work. More recently, the Platinum recording artist has taken on the new title of Philanthropist – giving back to his hometown with the goal of providing a haven to the city’s youth, keeping them off of the streets, creating childhood memories in the park. Tiller’s second album release was announced around the beginning of May with a launch date of 14 June 2017. Fans were taken aback by the surprise release on 26 May 2017 and completely invested, ready to exchange an hour or two for a few harmonies and a little rhythm. So, let’s press play and converse about the growth, progress, and coming into the musical self of the Bryson Tiller.
Intros. Introductions seem to be one of the best ways to coerce audiences into remaining interested in the “what is to come” of new projects. Aside from the anticipation build within fans regarding the curiosity of their favorite artists’ latest compilations, we are all pretty curious and eager to take in song after song, word after word. Not only does Bryson Tiller’s album introduction serve as an expression of exactly who he is as an artist, it succeeds in the foreshadowing of the “what is to come” of this 19 track journey. He brings you into True To Self by way of being true to himself. Pure R&B from sample to vocals, but does something I am incredibly excited about. “Rain On Me (Intro)” takes me back to 2007 Comeback Season Drake reminiscent of “Closer” – Drake’s classic take on a Goapele relic, “Closer”. It is said that the rising star is found showcasing reverence for a few of his idols, both new and old throughout the True To Self experience and boy would this be an accurate implication. A dash of SWV. A sprinkle of Jodeci. Lastly, a tablespoon of Drake.
Bryson Tiller’s expression of homage is one that, I think, all of us can admire. I appreciate his appreciation for artists who prefaced him due to everything which they provide for the world of the Hip-Hop and R&B collaboration. The genres have faced a series of false embodiments and still are, despite the slow decline in inorganics. However, creatives such as Bryson Tiller feed me faith and hope in what is to come of the movement. Each song from the album compliments his character erecting inquisitive behavior all through his listeners, yearning to know more of who he is an artist bit by bit. He provides just the right dose of him in each melody and scatters his choice of homage wisely. Nevertheless, around the middle of the record – track nine to be exact – Tiller managed to incorporate a tablespoon too much of the modern musical sensation, Drake. As if the construction of the album did not already compare to the rapper and singer enough, Bryson took it a step further and incorporated Drake’s infamous Reggae sound into the mix. Despite the quick and easy ability to like the riddim of the sound accompanied by the catchy tune, the lack of originality takes away from the admiration of the track. But! Pen Griffey makes an effort to return to the roots, staying true to self and spinning things the right way. Proceed to your listen and welcome nostalgia. Take in the correlations and concept sampling of Drake’s “Shot For Me” in Tiller’s “Set It Off’. Then, wine and dine in his persona through the remainder of the album, once more returning to the title reminding us of the definition of Bryson Tiller.
True To Self is an example of a phase in the process of growing artistry, coming in to the who you are as a musician and no longer holding onto the who they want you to be. It can be concluded from the above observations as well as multiple listening experiences that Bryson Tiller is another blessing to and reviver of the co-created domain best known as R&B and Hip-Hop. I look forward to more of the “what is to come” of the life and career of the more than talented Bryson Tiller and, I hope you feel the same.