By Brendan Massoud ’17
Bryson Tiller released his sophomore album, titled “True to Self” on May 27. The highly anticipated album, which compiled 19 tracks with no features, dropped more than a year and a half after his debut album, “TRAPSOUL,” came out in October 2015.
Following “TRAPSOUL,” the hip-hop world wondered whether Tiller’s second album would do two things: First, would the artist remain on theme, utilizing a background typical of modern rap music and higher-pitched, singing vocals — trap and soul — to describe, in most cases, his love life? And second, would Tiller’s work be a refreshing addition to Tiller’s, and hip-hop’s, collection?
The answer was “yes” to both, with “True to Self” capturing the essence of why fans appreciate Tiller’s core music while still showing a fair amount of diversity. Here are five songs off of the album worth giving a listen:
“No Longer Friends”: The second song on the album features the standard Bryson Tiller vibe, as the singer confesses his love for a long time friend. Proving his reliability, he says, “Still I answer your call when he doesn’t answer at all.” Interspersed throughout the song includes pieces of the woman’s conversations with her current boyfriend — a nice artistic addition to an otherwise solid song.
“In Check”: Through the seventh track on “True to Self,” Tiller slows the tempo down in another love-based ballad, with this message being his reliance on his girl keeping him tied down. With the percussion aspect of the beat only introduced in the final stages of the song, this is one of the softest songs Tiller has released. It serves to be a nice change of pace for the album, which picks up after track seven.
“High Stakes”: Tiller tries his hand at an up-tempo almost-rap, and actually does quite well in this song. Along with “Self-Made,” it is in this middle section of the album where Tiller hits his best work. Within the track, Tiller experiments with rhymes such as: “In the VIP, this s*** feels like a showcase / Take me to a place I’d rather be, there’s no place.” In this line, and throughout the song, Tiller flexes how far he has made it. Definitely a solid addition to his resume.
“Something Tells Me”: The second to last song of the album, and the only single released off of “True to Self,” this might be one of the poorer songs on the album. Rather than rapping, it’s more like Tiller is speaking quickly into the mic — a distinction which makes the song a little awkward to listen to. In addition, the beat, usually a Tiller strong suit, is merely alright. As a long album of 19 songs, it would have made sense to cut this one.
“Always (Outro)”: On the final track, however, Tiller finds his rhythm again. An extremely short song in terms of vocals, the artist really only sings for a minute or so. However, it serves as enough, and the pitch is well placed over the beat. Additionally, following the portion of singing, there is an extra minute of synthesized piano, which slows to a nice ending.
Overall, the work was well put together, and definitely worth a listen.