Bryson Tiller’s career took off at what seemed like rocket speed. The singer who made waves with his SoundCloud single “Don’t” quickly became one of the most exciting upcoming talents that the world would get to look forward to. He also entered the scene at an interesting time in the music industry. Right now, we’re at the peak of transition into the digital streaming age. Apple Music quickly took notice of the rising star and snagged exclusive rights to stream his album a week ahead of its release date and even premiered one of the tracks before that on the digital media giant’s Beats 1 internet radio station. Co-signs came at no shortage for Tiller, it was all up to him to deliver on October 2, 2015, and deliver he did.
While TRAPSOUL isn’t considered his official debut album, it’s the first commercial release from Bryson Tiller. In an age where the SoundCloud stars are being rushed to put out albums in stores to capitalize on their current fame, Tiller’s first offering to the world is actually a project he’d been working on for some time. Songs like the album’s lead single “Don’t” and “Let ‘Em Know” had lived on Tiller’s SoundCloud page since the fall of 2014. Impressively, they ended up fitting nicely into the tracklist of TRAPSOUL without sounding dated.
The title of the album comes from a combination of the words “trap” and “soul,” two genres of music Tiller set out to blend the lines between. It’s fair to say that he’s not the first artist with these aspirations — PARTYNEXTDOOR comes to mind. But even though he set out to combine these two genres, it’s what he did for the latter of the two that really makes TRAPSOUL special.
TRAPSOUL is an R&B album that offers something for the hip-hop fan to grasp. Songs like “Ten Nine Fourteen,” “Rambo” and “502 Come Up” are the only tracks that could fit snugly into the hip-hop genre. On rest of the LP, Tiller is breathing new life into Rhythm and Blues music. It’s a genre that has been in a weird state for some time now. Singers don’t want to sing nowadays, so they tend to croon over hip-hop beats; such is not the reasoning behind Byson Tiller’s sound. The RCA Records act is showing off a smooth vocal range that isn’t watered down for the “trap” side of things. Showing off a falsetto sprinkled throughout the tracklist, it’s nice to hear singing again in R&B.
On “Ten Nine Fourteen,” the Louisville native offers an insight into what’s been happening behind-the-scenes on his come-up. Recounting his connection to Timbaland, he raps
“Can’t believe Timbo the king just sent me back home
But now that boy getting on, my nigga give me the throne”
He also speaks on his relationship with Drake briefly, who was believed to be possibly adding the singer to his OVO Sound record label. It’s a nice show-and-tell song that offers us a bit more information about the reserved twenty-something.
On “Overtime,” Tiller croons about the groundwork he’s put in to steal away a woman from her current lover — it’s probably the highlight of the album and the best exhibit of his capabilities as an artist. His powerful chorus vocals and effortless verse blending of singing and rapping show what makes him stand above his peers. The track transitions nicely into the album’s closer, “Right My Wrongs.”
Tiller revealed in his interview with Zane Lowe on Beat 1 that he anticipates his official debut album releasing in 2016. If TRAPSOUL is any indication of what that might sound like, we’re truly in store for something incredible.
TRAPSOUL is one of the best debut projects from a previously relatively unheard of artist that you'll ever hear. In concept, it's a project that isn't exactly ground-breaking, but in execution; that's another story. Bryson Tiller sings because he really can; he raps because, well, he really can.