Rarely do we see the combination of a hit single and promising talent mesh to catapult an artist’s career so suddenly. Sure, we see artist’s come out with hit single’s early on in their career that ascend these artist’s to the top of the charts, and make them forego the usual grind of gaining a fan-base and securing a record deal. We also see artist’s with plenty of talent and potential take years to develop their talent, gain a fan-base, and capitalize on both while eventually producing hit songs. (i.e. Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar). Bryson Tiller has had the unusual career arc of someone who is gifted climb so quickly, within the span of a year essentially, because of his infectious yet sincere hit, “Don’t”. Although it is unlikely to happen to the majority of artist’s striving to take their career to that next level, it certainly is refreshing to see that happen to a talented artist with massive potential. Something about Bryson Tiller’s music makes you feel like you’re listening to, “the one”. That next one to re-write the music history books and become a generational icon. A feeling that comes around only so often. I got that same feeling when I listened to Lamar, Drake, The Weeknd, and Chance the Rapper. These happen to be three of the biggest artists in rap/r&b and one 22 year old currently reshaping the way music is being distributed/valued. After being discovered by super producer Timbaland, and given a co-sign by Drake, expectations were sky-high for Bryson Tiller’s official debut, TRAPSOUL. The singer-rapper has taken the sing-rap style of clear influence, Drake, to another level, blending the two genre’s more effortlessly and cohesively than Drake. Nowhere near the MC Drake is, Tiller is certainly a better singer with room to grow as a rapper. DJBooth writer Brendan Varan says “Tiller has taken the recently exploding half-rap, half-R&B approach and made it his own, calling it Trap Soul. Singing morphs to rapping effortlessly, and even when he drops bars his voice is breezy enough to carry a tune.” TRAPSOUL begins with “Intro(Difference)”, a fitting introduction, as Tiller sings, over a trap beat, about how different he is from others, and his past self. Tiller sings “Can you tell the difference? No, you can tell the difference Oh yes, I say, with me it's different Baby, I know you see the difference”. The album continues with “Let Em’ Know”, using the same exact beat, adding a thumping bass and 808s along with the synths to create the first taste of his self-described “trap-soul” sound. A smooth transition that shows Tiller slide in between singing and rapping on the trap beat as he confidently boasts about the girl he has won over other possible suitors. The song is braggadocios but leaves a trail of openness that makes it feel relatable. “Exchange” follows and we see Tiller melodically rap to a girl, with a young sounding voice that is not menacing whatsoever, that he wants her love in exchange for his. The song is not traditional R&B, but when you delve deeper, you see the R&B like conversational lyrics with a Drake influenced approach. At first, “For However Long” feels like the first soul/R&B song at first. Then we get more rapping from Tiller. Best comparison here is when Trey Songz did the sing-song rapping mixtape, #LemmeHolDatBeat. The rapping at this point has been decent, solid perhaps, but not good enough to warrant him doing it the majority of the time. “Don’t” follows next, and despite it being his first hit song, it remains the best song on the entire album. Rolling Stone writer Elias Leight describes the song saying “You feel "Don't" immediately: The bass skulks in first, and Tiller enters not long after, singing conversationally, if not athletically. A dribble of percussion maintains a steady pitter-patter, shadowing his every move.” The song finds Tiller singing to a girl he feels he suits better than her current lover, “Marvin’s Room” style. As great as the aforementioned song is, “Don’t” doesn’t seem as forced, emotional or pettish. Instead, “Don’t” seems more distanced, yet relatable and even-tempered. Tiller sings, “Don’t let me just let up/ I want to give you better/ Baby it's whatever, Somebody gotta step up Girl, I'm that somebody So I'm next up/ Be damned if I let him catch up It's easy to see that you’re fed up”. We then get “Open interlude”, another song similar to “Don’t” in which we get more traditional R&B. Tiller is mostly melody on this song and showcases a gentle rhythm to his voice that compliments the beat well. In “Ten Nine Fourteen”, the date that hit single “Don’t” dropped, we get the most introspective song on the album. The content is welcomed, as the previous lyrics were generally speaking, and it comes in the form of strictly rapping. The song serves as a good segue to the second half of the album, which is more traditionally rap-based. Next is “The Sequence”. Ironically, this song ruins the sequencing of the album as the R&B record, with annoying repetitiveness, is sandwiched in-between rap heavy tracks. A throw-away record or one that should have been placed earlier in the album, but a blunder nonetheless. “Rambo” is a perfectly blended rap&b record in which Tiller simply displays his current skill level as a rapper with his melodic raps over a thumping trap beat. The song is competitive in nature and embodies the nature of hip-hop, an undertone throughout TRAPSOUL. “502 Come Up” is another semi-introspective rap song in which Tiller talks about his city’s come up and his own, otherwise a perfect song to place after “Ten Nine Fourteen”. In the song Tiller raps, “I just wish momma was here to live up under chandeliers with us/ I guess all I ever had to do was take this shit a little more serious”, a reference to his mother who passed when he was four and his re-commitment to music. “Sorry Not Sorry” follows, a trap song again sung in Tiller’s now trademark sound. The album nears closing with a strictly R&B soul song, over another trap beat, “Been That Way”. The song displays minimal actual singing, rather heavy melody where he isn’t rapping like previously, either. “Overtime” is more of the same, with rapping sort of emphasized more this time; probably the most boring song on the album with a beat that puts you to sleep. The album closes with “Right My Wrongs”, the most R&B song on the album. R&B fans will appreciate this song for Tiller showcasing his singing voice, ripe with emotions and Tiller attempting higher keys then previously. Tiller sings, “Tell me, how can I right my wrongs? That's something that I should know All the things that we been through, girl I never meant to put you through it twice, no, no”. It’s almost as if Tiller knows he puts that girl he’s been after, through the same things he told her to stay away from, a subtle theme of the album. Overall, the album is strong and almost great for several seasons. First and foremost, the genre-bending sing-rap that Tiller has transcended is displayed perfectly throughout the album. The only criticism here is that Tiller isn’t as good of a rapper as he is a singer. His rapping has a lot to improve upon and often gets repetitive, uncreative, and contains below-average lyrics. However, he flashes those skills throughout the album enough to show his promise and potential as a rapper that can improve to a level respected by many who critique the technicalities in rap. Also, the album makes you feel like he is having a prolonged conversation with one single significant other that goes through several phases in which he creates different moods that keep the listener enticed. The album has a theme that Bryson Tiller is better, better for you than your current man, better than his old self, better than fellow artists, and better than anyone who doubted him, yet he also shows a hint of doubt and can contradict while acknowledging his weaknesses. A direct calling card from Drake, Tiller does a good job of using this tactic, although we still aren’t as sure as to who Bryson Tiller is. In regards to Tiller’s flow, lyrics, and delivery, he sometimes promises a threat and menacing actions that ultimately are dismissed and can’t be take seriously. Vibe writer AshleyMonaé says “At Tiller’s best, he’s emo in a good way, an honest and emotional millennial whose lyrics stroke the soul.” I agree and although he isn’t at his best throughout the entire album, he is consistent enough, perhaps to a fault, to produce a debut that deserves some praise. No features on the album also presented a challenge that Tiller welcomed to the best of his ability. Solid debut, young Tiller, our ears are open. 7/10.