slowthai – TYRON

Ever since he burst onto the scene a few years ago, slowthai has been one of the hottest rising rappers in Britain. His initially was considered a bit alternative among the British Hip Hop scene, as he has incorporated Punk Rock music into his sound that is not very common in British Hip Hop(or in Hip Hop from any country, for that matter). Also, instead of using traditional British Grime beats and leaning into the British Grime scene, he has tended to make music that has more traditional American Hip Hop beats. Specifically, slowthai has embraced Trap music, and this has made him stand out among other British rappers. Don’t get me wrong, he does also use elements of Grime in his music, but the way he also uses Trap music makes him just as palatable to Americans as he to British Hip Hop listeners. Another element of slowthai’s music that really makes him stand out is his lyricism. slowthai is an open book and will talk about anything in regards to his life and upbringing, as well as his opinions of politics and the world in general. His debut album, Nothing Great About Britain, was a huge success, as slowthai let listeners into his world and mind in a way that is so fresh and raw that it made him very relatable to so many of the people listening to his music. This has made the hype surrounding his new record very high because everyone wants to see if he can outdo himself after releasing such an excellent debut. With that being said, here my opinion on slowthai’s new album TYRON. Please let me know in the comments below if you agree with my assessment of this record, and also let me know in the comments what your favorite songs are from this project.

How you gonna cancel me? Twenty awards on the mantle-piece. Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, girls in the crowd got their hands on me. About you wanna cancel who? Fuck with the cult, now the gang’s on you… – ‘CANCELLED’ featuring Skepta

slowthai’s TYRON starts off on a very intense note with the song ’45 SMOKE.’ This song is honestly so eerie and dark in the best way; it reminds me a lot of the darkest Trap music by artists like Key!, Maxo Kream, or Rico Nasty. ’45 SMOKE’ has a creepy and distorted melody that sounds like it came from a chase scene in some horror movie. slowthai’s vocal style and lyrics match up with the tough and chilling nature of the instrumental. On this track, slowthai talks about all of the shady stuff he did growing up to get money and survive. slowthai wants the world to know about everything he has done to get to the point he is at so they know that he is willing to anything possible to get what he wants. The next song, ‘CANCELLED,’ features UK Rap legend Skepta, and it keeps the same unnerving energy that the song before it has. This track is probably going to be one of my favorite songs of the year judging from how much I have been playing it already; the instrumental for this song goes so crazy, and the chemistry between slowthai and Skepta is awesome on ‘CANCELLED.’ I love the beat switch that comes after the first refrain from Skepta. This track goes from sounding like typical Southern Trap music into super creepy and dark Trap that is similar to ’45 SMOKE.’ On this track, slowthai and Skepta are talking about how they are so big that they can not get cancelled at this point. They will always get back to the top because they are too relevant and too talented. ‘MAZZA,’ which features A$AP Rocky, is another song with a wild and unique Trap instrumental that really draws the listener in because of how weird and trippy it is. The melody is creepy and melodic at the same time and it just goes so hard. Once again, the chemistry between slowthai and A$AP Rocky is excellent on this track. They play off of each other’s flows and ideas so well. On ‘MAZZA,’ slowthai and Rocky are both talking about how reckless they can get and how they do not care what others think about what they do. Sometimes they feel like they can not trust themselves, but they like it this way because it makes their lives fun. ‘MAZZA’ is another track where slowthai shows off his dark and uncontrollable nature in a way that seems more positive than it is. Following this, we get ‘VEX,’ which is another song that is a burst of scary and somewhat negative energy. I know I keep saying that the “melodies” that some of these instrumentals have sounded like they should come from a horror movie, but this instrumental fits that mold even more than the previous tracks. The instrumental for this track could easily be played during a scary chase scene in a movie like Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The negative energy of the lyrics from ‘VEX’ matches up with the negative energy of the instrumental perfectly. On ‘VEX,’ slowthai is expressing his disdain towards the current culture of only projecting your best self to the world online. He hates how people only show the good things and do not let people into what is real in their lives. slowthai will always be as real and honest about who he is as he can, and what you see is what you get when it comes to slowthai.

I believe that ‘WOT’ is supposed to be a transition to the next little section of the album. At 48 seconds, it is an intense Trap instrumental that is similar in intensity to the first few tracks, as well as one succinct verse from slowthai. It is not as scary and dark as the instrumentals that precede it, but it still packs a major punch. Lyrically, this song is not as angry as the first four tracks were. slowthai is obviously trying to switch up the energy going into the next part of the album while keeping the darkness of the first part, and this venture is successful with the song ‘WOT.’ Although ‘DEAD’ is still very dark and downtrodden sounding, it is not nearly as scary or intense as any of the music that precedes it from this record. Don’t get me wrong, there is still nothing happy or positive sounding about this track, but it is obvious a transition in the mood and tone of TYRON is starting. Compared to all of the songs before it, the instrumental for ‘DEAD’ is a lot calmer and more somber. On this track, slowthai is stating that the side of him that is strictly chasing the money and fame is dead. He would much rather have his music and art live on forever than make the most amount of money he can make. I love this sentiment, as it shows how mature slowthai is becoming and how much making the best music possible matters to him. From what I understand, the first half of this album was made with emotional intensity in mind and the second half was made in a more introspective and deep fashion. ‘PLAY WITH FIRE’ is the seventh track from this record, and it serves as sort of a transition from the first half to the second half. ‘PLAY WITH FIRE’ has an instrumental that is not nearly as dark or sad or intense as any of the first six tracks were. In fact, the melody for this song is very mellow and almost calming in a way. In this song, slowthai is sort of going back and forth with his emotions and what he wants. He is realizing all of his reckless behavior in the past was not worth it, and that all of the money and gold and women he expressed wanting in the first half of the album will not ultimately help in the end. If he does not get his mind right and figure out how to deal with all of his many inner demons, none of the things he can now afford will make him happy anyway.

As I previously stated, the first half of TYRON was made with a very high level of emotional intensity, and the second half of the album is supposed to be a lot more introspective and deep and honest. This is going to be the case from the first line of the song ‘i tried,’ where a high-pitched voice states: (I tried to die) The pain won’t die. (I tried to take my life) And you caught me with a smile… It is cool and interesting to see slowthai talk the way he does in this song. He opens up about not being okay with who he is and never feeling good enough; although he has accomplished so much, he still feels like he just is not doing enough and can not find true happiness. The instrumental for this track is nothing like anything someone would expect to hear from slowthai. It reminds me of some old Jazzy Tyler the Creator or Kanye beats; in fact, I would compare it to Kanye’sDevil In A New Dress’ or Tyler’sSee You Again.’ slowthai excels on this instrumental, and I would love to hear him go this route more in the future. ‘focus’ is another song with an instrumental that one would not expect to hear from slowthai. It is another track that has a Jazzy feeling to it, but not the same kind of Jazz from the song that precedes it. This track sounds a lot more solemn and less bright; it reminds me a lot of old-school psychedelic Hip Hop. ‘focus’ is a song about slowthai trying to stay self-aware and grounded in the crazy world that he lives in. It can be tough to stay happy when everyone expects so much from you all of the time. The next song, ‘terms,’ which features Dominic Fike and Denzel Curry, is quickly becoming one of the most popular songs from this record. Compared to most of slowthai’s music, it has a way more “Pop-Trap” feeling to it; it completely fits into the mold of what is popular in Trap today, and I could see it blowing up on Tik Tok because it is so catchy. It fits into the mold of moody Trap music that one would expect from artists like Future or JID. On ‘terms,’ slowthai is talking about how he manages to cope with all the perils that come with becoming famous online very quickly. slowthai hates the fact that almost everything he says and does gets twisted into being something negative in the media, but he is coming to learn that it is just something that comes with the territory. ‘push,’ featuring Deb Never, is another song with an instrumental that one would not expect to hear from slowthai. I love the fact that he is taking so many risks on this record. This song has a calm and sweet melody provided by a guitar, and an intro and outro sweetly sung by Deb Never. On ‘push,’ slowthai is talking about always pushing and fighting through all of the problems he has. This includes mental health problems, family problems, drug problems, and problems with his career. No matter what, he always perseveres. I really love the juxtaposition that a song by Deb Never and slowthai creates, and I would love to hear a lot more music from them together in the future.

Same old shit, just another day. I was in my head, feelin’ dead, feelin’ microwaved. I was on the strip with the kids playin’ Simon Says. Tyron jumped the bridge, would you do the same? – ‘nhs’

I have never thought slowthai is necessarily a motivational rapper, but the next song, ‘nhs,’ is very inspiring and will push people to get back on their feet and keep going. ‘nhs’ stands for National Health Service, which I believe is the UK’s version of the CDC or APHA(the US’s main health organizations). This is a reference to the pandemic we are still suffering from; these organizations tried to protect us, but no one listened and the disease(and turmoil caused by it) spiraled out of control. Over a trippy and psychedelic slow melody that puts the focus on what slowthai is saying, he states that we need to take control of our thoughts and emotions even when things are bad. If we let every bad thought consume us in the worst of times, it is going to make the good times feel not nearly as positive and happy. ‘feel away,’ which features James Blake and Mount Kimbie, brings the energy back up a bit. It has an anxious-sounding fast piano melody that sort of reminds me of old-school Hip Hop, and it has a fast Trap beat that just makes me want to dance. There are not many “club” songs on this record, but I could see this one turning up any function it is played in. One thing that is cool about this track is the contrast created between the vocals of slowthai and James Blake. They bring a similar amount of energy and emotion to the song, but in such different manners. ‘feel away’ is about a man trying to put himself in a woman’s shoes during a relationship. So many of the relationships slowthai has been around(including his own) have been so volatile and crazy, and he is trying to help himself understand how women feel so he can hopefully not hurt them in the same ways in the future. As wild and off the wall slowthai can be, it is so obvious that he wants to be a better person. The album closes out with the song ‘adhd,’ which is quickly becoming another fan favorite. The instrumental on this one is a bit sad and foreboding sounding; TYRON definitely does not end a positive note. On ‘adhd,’ slowthai is expressing how difficult it was to grow up with this condition. People in his life used to just think he always wanted attention and not that he had a major attention deficiency issue, and it just made things so much harder on him. He still deals with problems every day because of his adhd, and this song is an ode to everyone who suffers from the same problems he does. ‘adhd’ is relatable to so many people, and it is a phenomenal way for him to connect to his fans more than he already does.

Ever since he bursts onto the scene a few years ago, slowthai has become one of the most eclectic and exciting rappers in the world. He is risen to the top of the UK Rap scene and is now becoming a true global Hip Hop star. One thing people love about slowthai is how raw and honest he is, and how willing he is to let people into the way he thinks. On TYRON, he does this even more than he has in the past. This record was a journey into the mind of slowthai; he shows the listeners all of the psychological turmoil he has gone through and still suffers from, and how he has been able to conquer his problems and rise out of the fire better than ever. Even though the instrumentals on this record are not necessarily “happy” sounding, TYRON is an inspirational and great record that proves anyone gets through the worst of issues if they fight and put their mind to it.

Favorite Tracks: 45 SMOKE, CANCELLED(feat. Skepta), MAZZA(feat. A$AP Rocky), DEAD, PLAY WITH FIRE, i tried, terms(feat. Denzel Curry and Dominic Fike), push(feat. Deb Never), nhs, adhd

8.2/10

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