On February 12, English rapper slowthai released his second album, TYRON. Two years apart from the release of his debut album Nothing Great About Britain, TYRON focuses more on duality of the individual rather than political issues like his earlier project. This tape was rather ambitious, and it contained both an A-side and a B-side. The first half of the album contained more energetic, nearly chaotic tracks.
Side B illustrated a more reflective and sentimental side of slowthai, not often seen before. His unmatched wit and surprising lyrical capability provided for a remarkably interesting listen. slowthai really can evolve into a staple of not only the growing UK Scene, but also as an international staple of experimental hip hop. High-profile features and creative production on this tape, on top of stellar rapping, made this album so special.
The album starts with a bold track in “45 Smoke” in which the beat nearly sounds arrogant. Slowthai’s character is shown in his blatantly excessive vulgarity in the opening verse, and he follows this bold introduction with an anticipatory hook and effortless flow switches. His rhyme scheme is truly incredible. Slowthai possesses a remarkable ability to show his personality and figuratively dance on a beat, which many can’t.
Track 2, “CANCELLED”, is nothing short of greatness. Skepta is, well, Skepta. The king of UK Drill and maybe even UK Rap, provided an angry boastful hook. Almost taunting the sensitivity of pop culture, he audaciously starts with “How are you gonna cancel me?”. He later establishes himself as a dominant figure by mentioning his accolades and illustrating his high status. All of a sudden, slowthai comes in with an absolutely filthy flow, both angry and cynical. This was probably my favorite track on the A-Side.
“MAZZA” is pretty solid, featuring a standard A$AP Rocky verse. While the track is by no means bad, it just does not stand out compared to others. “VEX”, in my opinion, is the worst track on this project. The production is underwhelming and the rapping just does not do it for me.
Fast forward a few tracks, “PLAY WITH FIRE” shows a slightly calmer side of Tyron (at least comparatively). He solemnly reflects on the pressures of being a rapper, surrounded by negativity. He closes the track with some introspective advice, later questioning “Why do I feel like I’m holding the short straw?”
“i tried” is by far my favorite track on this project. It actually reminds me of the famed Drake Track “Tuscan Leather”. Over a mellow sample and instrumental, he reflects on his success and failure, similar to the Toronto superstar. “Focus” is similar in sound, yet he uses the track to show his resilience in a world full of doubt and little opportunity. “terms” features less prevalent features than expected from Denzel Curry and Dominic Fike. However, slowthai takes the spotlight well, coming to literal “terms” with his pain and addressing smoking as a coping mechanism. “push” has a phenomenal feature from Deb Never, and slowthai gives advice to the listener. Telling the listener that “when push comes to shove, you have to push”, he shows a newfound confidence, compared to self doubt portrayed earlier. “nhs” questions the world, and “feel away” shows a feeling of tranquility, or state of peace with the world.
The album ends with “adhd”, painting slowthai’s mind as complex, pulled in different directions by peers, society and himself. In conclusion, this is my album of the year candidate thus far. Slowthai’s ability to flawlessly express himself and his societal beliefs in two projects is impressive. He is not only talented as a rapper, but also eloquent, funny and intelligent. I would give this an 8.5/10. While I personally prefer his debut album, this is nothing short of fantastic. Well done, slowthai!
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