T R a P S O U L

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Bryson Tiller evidently doesn't see his neologism, trapsoul, to be a fleeting style. Not only did he title his debut album after his approach -- well, technically, it's T R A P S O U L, likely to get chopped up by a page margin or two -- but the term is also the name of his boutique label, funded by RCA. Whether it's Syksense, Sango, J Louis, the Mekanics, Fayo & Chill, Ayo!, or any other name credited with production, each track from this Kentuckian singer, rapper, and songwriter falls into that very specific designation. They vary little in pace, ranging from leaden to liquid, rooted in sparse constructions that consist of deeply booming bass, rattling percussion, and synthesizer accents that stir and swarm. Ghostly samples of mostly '90s tracks -- sourced from the likes of Aaliyah, Jodeci, Shai, Keith Sweat, and KP & Envyi -- are another constant. Not even "Sorry Not Sorry," the track co-produced by Timbaland, deviates from the mode. As monochromatic as the tracks are, they're the right settings, ideal backdrops for Tiller's limited vocal and lyrical range. He's most comfortable dealing out playboy boasts, singing about getting high, "bad bitches," and "hoes", little imagination is required to know what he means by "I got a job for ya." The few instances in which he raises his voice sound less than natural, and when he expresses pain and regret, he sounds like he's either numb or simply not connected to the sentiment. Tiller has his sound and image nailed down, but not much of the content here has lasting value.
by Andy Kellman


Bryson Tiller
T R a P S O U L
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