In today's world, honesty has always been hard to come by. Due to the influences of television, radio and social media, our culture has forced most to portray something that isn't necessarily true, just to create the narrative of success. Too often we live beyond our means, hide our feelings, and shield our true selves from the rest of the world; because to many, there is no greater fear than that of rejection. The greater crime, however, is the risk of acceptance on the basis of a lie; which ultimately goes back to not being accepted in the first place. Ironically, people find it difficult to live their truth, but make it a requirement for the artists, musicians and celebrities that intrigue them on a daily basis.
Late last month, the Louisville native Bryson Tiller dropped his sophomore project True To Self, almost a month before it's slated release date. 5-tracks longer than it's predecessor, this album focuses on the experiences that a young, black male goes through in terms of love, life and maturity. The LP's introductory cut "Rain On Me", sets the tone for the rest of the album. With production from NES, !LLmind, Boi-1da, T-Minus and Wondagurl, the self-proclaimed Pen Griffey remains true to the nostalgic, 90's-driven sound that propelled him to stardom in 2015. Songs like "No Longer Friends" and "Don't Get Too High" are accounts the resonate with many when it comes to emotional interactions with the opposite sex; while "Blowing Smoke" and "Self-Made" showcases the artist's confident, braggadocious side, in contrast to the album's overall vulnerability.
Towards the middle of True to Self, the album at points feels lengthy due to the similarity in some of it's melodies. Uptempo tracks like "High Stakes" and "Before You Judge", breaks the monotony of this project during it's low points. The album's final cut "Always" is the perfect antithesis to "Rain On Me", which focuses on positivity and hope for the future as opposed to the introduction's feel of uncertainty and indecisiveness. Sometimes the cohesion gets lost in translation throughout its 19-tracks, but it's opening and closing surely will provide clarity.
Bryson's introspective songwriting ability has always proved to be his strong suit. Although the lyrics, along with this album's amazing production makes it a good listen; where True To Self falls short is the lack of the artist's progression from his previous album, Trapsoul. His sound is unique, and he has created his own lane in this ever-changing music industry, but the "if it isn't broke, don't fix it", repetitive-feel of this album sometimes takes away from the big picture.
If you haven't already, take a listen to the album below.
- Okla (@coolhandoak)