This ‘New Music Friday’ saw Tiller’s versatility trickle through as he releases a grand total of three new singles.
2017 marks the year that the 24-year-old Kentuckian, Bryson Tiller, returns to the realms of rising stardom since his impressive debut studio album, Trapsoul, in late 2015. In addition to gaining a respectable volume of critical acclaim, including a Grammy nomination for hit-single Exchange, Tiller re-evaluated a genre that is often stigmatised for its repetitive nature. A self-explanatory title that showcased the blend of the sub-genres of trap and soul – essentially pitching an effort that combined viscous beats and a well-rounded production, working in unison with clean, soulful vocals. Much of the album shed light on his past, his own narrative of sorts – focusing heavily on his work ethic to provide for his young daughter and heartbreak with previous lovers. Very much a nothing to something story.
Tiller has been in the industry since 2011, beginning with the release of mixtape Killer Instinct Vol.1. Despite not injecting much influence unto the masses, it established his place on the map and provided him with the pedestal to subsequently release what is, arguably, his most notable single, Don’t, in 2014. Through a vastly positive online reception, Tiller caught the eye of R&B heavyweights, Timbaland and Drake – stating in Ten Nine Fourteen that he’ll ‘never forget that phone call (he) got from Timbo’ and acknowledging ‘the recognition from Drizzy alone’. This led to a flurry of record label acknowledgements, including an offer from Drake’s own OVO Sound label which Tiller interestingly deferred in favour of a deal with RCA Records.
Trapsoul was released on 2nd October 2015 and debuted at no.11 on the Billboard 200 – later creeping into the top 10 and peaking at no.8. Post-release saw Tiller claim two awards at the 2016 BET Awards, including Best New Artist and Best Male R&B/Pop Artist, followed by a place on Forbes “30 under 30” list in January 2017. Recently, Tiller supported The Weeknd on his Legend of the Fall Tour (https://wavebyte.co.uk/2017/03/10/the-weeknd-the-02-08-03-17/) which was his most recent visit to the UK since his extremely popular, primarily one off, show at London’s KOKO in early 2016 – which subsequently increased to three nights due to the catastrophic demand. Despite this, I was still unable to acquire tickets.
Somethin Tells Me
Somethin Tells Me kicks off with a beat reminiscent of the early 00s R&B scene, establishing a percussive foundation of snares lavished with synthesised organ scores, this is swiftly followed by Tiller’s recognisably smooth vocal melodies. The narrative throughout the song is based on a relationship he knows is coming to an end, questioning both his own motives and those of the partner at hand. Tiller is trying to reconcile the partnership, but comes to the realisation that this will not happen – despite his persistent attempts; repeating in the chorus ‘We ain’t gon’ last baby’ and in the outro ‘Can we make it work, let’s make it work’. This song has come up as a personal favourite of mine, it’s fluent beat and old-school melodies reinstate why I came to enjoy Tiller’s music in the first place – it is a track that will certainly be a standout on the forthcoming album.
Get Mine (feat. Young Thug)
Get Mine transitions across to the Tiller seen throughout previous tracks including 502 Come Up and Rambo; heavier basslines and coherent verses that showcase his trap abilities which directly juxtapose the soul emitted in Honey and Somethin Tells Me. What made Trapsoul so remarkable is the sheer presence of Tiller as an artist without being encumbered by features or supports. Across 14 songs, Tiller did not employ one feature (discounting any producers), which is an impressive feat for many artists in this generation of the genre. I mention this due to the feature of, in my humble opinion, talentless and embarrassment to the industry, Young Thug. After seeing him prance around the stage for the best part of 30 minutes during his set as a feature for Drake’s Boy Meets World Tour, and later featuring on the Canadians More Life, providing the worst song on the playlist, I have had very little time for him. However, I held my judgement back for this song, and in all honestly, it doesn’t lessen the value of the song. It provides a new element for Tiller, showcasing his previously discussed versatility – it highlights his growth within the genre and his willingness to explore new sounds. The song itself acts as a response to Trapsoul, he addresses his financial gain since the debut – once again finding comfort in the financial security he has been able to bless his young daughter with, to quote; ‘2015 I made two mil’ for my daughter’.
Honey is by far the most familiar Tiller performance across the hat-trick of new releases. Produced by NES, Tiller draws upon this production in the title of the song, exposing the fundamental integrity of a good producer to the overall quality of a song – it is an element that is often shunned. It feels as though Tiller and his team are experimenting with the different sounds Tiller grew up with. Slow drum thumps, submerged vocals and ‘closed hi-hats’ are synonymous with 90s hip-hop. Possibly a precursor to the woman he mentions in Somethin Tells Me, or a new lady, the sinuous melodies translate as serenading love song for this partner. Once again, Tiller draws upon his financial success from Trapsoul, reminding the lover that he has a place they can go, despite later highlighting that she doesn’t need the financial support he could provide; ‘Get it on her own, she don’t need a sponsor’. Honey provides an element, which I am sure will appear more than once, of love and lust that many of his female fan base are likely to adorn to.
Conclusively, Tiller has surpassed my expectations with these surprise single releases. His attention towards a multitude of auditory tastes is commendable, as fans, myself included, relish in his versatility, and witnessing him juggle them expertly is an incredibly encouraging prospect in the wake of his forthcoming album, True to Self. I look forward to listening to the album and seeing him develop and grow as an artist in the near future.