At the intersection of hip-hop and R&B, a space that continues to gain traffic (thanks to the likes of Kanye West, the Weeknd, and Drake) sits 22-year old Bryson Tiller.
At the intersection of hip-hop and R&B, a space that continues to gain traffic (thanks to the likes of Kanye West, the Weeknd, and Drake) sits 22-year old Bryson Tiller. This pause is merely a temporary lapse—a red light if we are to continue the metaphor—because ever since the drop of his first album, Trapsoul, last October, Tiller has been on the road, selling out two nights at Radio City like a seasoned star. His smooth sound and relaxed bravado has been wooing guys and gals alike, pushing Trapsoul to No. 2 on Billboard’s R&B album chart.
Even though his rise to fame is the stuff of dreams (a year ago he was living in his car), this newcomer has some serious musical chops that make him a definite one to watch. On an album with no features, Tiller proves his strength with some of my personal favorites: the bouncy “Sorry Not Sorry” and the slower, more seductive “Don’t,” which has reached platinum status and garnered over 100 million YouTube views. But don’t let that sway you.
It’s easy to like Tiller. He’s a regular dude from Louisville, Kentucky, known for wearing his low-slung baseball cap with a “dad style” folded brim (he’s dad to one-year-old Harley), contrary to hip-hop’s typical flat-brim. But besides his choice of hat, what sets Tiller apart from the rest? What has made his rise to fame so quick and sweeping?
For starters, Tiller is as impressive at singing as he is at rapping, alternating tracks between the two with the ease of pouring golden honey. Many hopeful artists attempt this, but few do both exceptionally well. Even Kanye is shaky without loads of Auto-Tune. Yes, his lyrics contain typical boy + girl drama, but it’s the occasional anime reference and emotionally honest verses that give his addictive songs a relatable edge. Finally, in an era where image, hype, and #hashtags are prolific, Tiller is the everyman who makes it a point to rely on his musical talent above all else.
As R&B, hip-hop, and trap continue to merge, Bryson Tiller is trying to cement his name in the mix. So far it seems that he is off to a good start.
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