slowthai aka Tyron Frampton releases his second album ‘TYRON’, The follow up to his Top 10, Mercury Music Award nominated debut ‘Nothing Great About Britain’.
‘TYRON’ was formed against the backdrop of an unforgiving climate where judgement, shaming and underdeveloped and simplistic conceptions of other people are fashionable.
Instead of succumbing to such simplicity, ‘TYRON’ presents an artist who is unabashedly complicated and willing to explore themes of loneliness, identity, self-acceptance, and the difficulties in becoming an individual.
First single ‘feel away’ featuring James Blake and Mount Kimbie kicked things off at the end of last summer and hinted at a more introspective side to slowthai.
The equally moving single ‘nhs’ followed, continuing the reflective theme laid out by ‘feel away’. 2020 turned to 21 and global expectations were high but quickly thwarted. ‘
MAZZA’ featuring A$AP Rocky jump started the year with its bass heavy bombastic push to wake a downtrodden nation up. Earlier this week, ‘CANCELLED’ featuring Skepta rallied his fans once more in a bid to keep strong and stand tall against the haters.
It’s a mirror held up to cancel culture and doesn’t shy away from being a bold and urgent response to those who tried/try to tear him down.
As displayed by the singles pulled from the record, TYRON is a tale of two halves exposing human complexity. Just as with the narrative of his own life, there are always two sides to every story.
Side one re-introduces us to the classic hubris, machismo, and braggadocio typical of rap music. What’s atypical is his semi-inebriated playfully slurred, dynamic flow over equally diverse production.
The opening track is ‘45 SMOKE’ which plays on his bad-boy image with an energetic freestyle as an announcement to the doubters. ‘45 SMOKE’ could be viewed as a taunt, a mosh-pit motivator, heavy with a post-punk distortion; that warns that he will always be himself at all costs, a refusal to play nice, and a reminder of the rugged roots that shaped him.
Across the 7 tracks, Side A offers up some of the best alternative UK rap you’re likely to hear this year. Friends joining Ty to enhance this aural assault are A$AP Rocky on ‘MAZZA’ and big bro Skepta on ‘CANCELLED’ which addresses the overzealous practice of tearing people down in the name of ‘progress’.
Side two takes what you thought you knew about slowthai and flips on its head. Earlier singles ‘feel away’ and ‘nhs’ go some way to dip a toe inside the complexities of his mind but delve deeper and you’ll be left with a clearer understanding of who he truly is.
‘focus’ is a song of street wisdom, an ode to self-reliance. In the internet age it’s a crucial and simple blueprint for the fleeting attention caused by information overload, slowthai’s advice? ‘‘focus on some other shit”.
‘terms’ featuring Dominic Fike & Denzel Curry deals with the ‘terms’ and conditions of fame and the inevitable twisting and misinterpreting of his words, and album closer ‘adhd’ is a moving self-reflection of how one can “smile on the out, but, inside keep bleeding”.
TYRON is a melodic dive through the expansive landscape of his feelings. His ability to bear his imperfections and contradictions makes TYRON an album that is the antithesis of a culture of purity. A resistance to the rising tide of moral one-upmanship and the pervasive self-righteousness that blinds us to our own fallibility.
What is refreshing about TYRON is that the album doesn’t shy away from the mess. If anything he reminds us to make peace with our own inner junkyard, to evolve, create, and learn from it.
slowthai shows us that if we stop seeking perfection, we might discover our own treasures, and similarly, if we can find the tragic beauty in imperfection, we might begin to appreciate people for who they are instead of hating them for what they are not.
CANCELLED (feat. Skepta)
MAZZA (feat. A$AP Rocky)
PLAY WITH FIRE
terms (feat. Dominic Fike & Denzel Curry)
push (feat. Deb Never)
feel away (feat. James Blake & Mount Kimbie)