Slowthai - TYRON review

Hailing from Northampton, Britain, Tyron Frampton, better known as Slowthai, burst on the scene in 2019 with his politically charged debut album “Nothing Great About Britain”. To the delight of critics and (newfound) fans alike, “Nothing Great About Britain” was a brutally honest assessment of the political and social culture in Britain often coming to the grim conclusion that, well, there’s nothing great about it at all. Sonically, the record forced an impression on the listener. Slowthai was absolutely vicious throughout the entire record, attacking beats with unmitigated passion and intensity, the album featured little detours from this sound. As a result, it was an album chock full of grimy bangers backed with instrumentals driven by hard hitting snares and guitar chords reminiscent of the British punk scene in the 1980s. Tracks like “Doorman”, “Inglorious”, and “T N Biscuits” immediately gave Tyron a significant platform that typically demands a far larger catalog. After going on tour with BROCKHAMPTON, Slowthai effectively established himself as an artist that was here to stay, and forged heavy interest as to what he would do next. 

 

In the year following the release and subsequent tour of“Nothing Great About Britain”, Tyron struggled with his newfound fame and notoriety tremendously. Struggles with his mental health and temper, exacerbated by the spotlight, culminated during the NME awards in the United Kingdom. Frampton, clearly very inebriated, got into it with several fans and heckled the presenter, Katherine Ryan. Frampton openly shares the hardships and severe depression that he battled with during this time in his life. Being forced into a place of fame and notoriety commonly comes at the expense of one’s mental health, and Frampton’s quick ascension to immense popularity was clearly overwhelming. In the midst of this lowpoint, COVID hit, and Frampton was forced to isolate as were we all. Nothing forces one to do some pretty serious introspection quite like being locked in a house alone for months on end. Frampton took to pen and paper to help himself heal, and created a truly fantastic, personal, and mature body of work aptly titled “TYRON”.

 

While Slowthai’s brain, pen, and creativity all shined on his first record, his personality did not. Upon completion of that record, the listener really has no better idea as to who Tyron Frampton is as a person. Aside from “Toaster”, he avoids getting too personal throughout the record; on “TYRON”, he completely flips the script. This album is split into two discs, the first of which is far more energetic and boisterous than the second, much more in line with Slowthai’s previous work. The album starts on a chilling note with “45 SMOKE”, which transitions into “CANCELLED” which features British rapper Skepta and alludes to the NME incident directly. The first disc is remarkably consistent and keeps the high energy from the start. “MAZZA (feat. A$AP Rocky)”, “DEAD”, and “PLAY WITH FIRE”, are my favorites on the first side, they all showcase different instrumentals than he has ever rapped over and the sound really works to say the least. 

 

The second half of the album is what makes it for me. Starting with “i tried”, Slowthai pulls the blinds back and pours his heart out to beautiful and melodic sounds which sonically are a complete change from what we have come to expect. The last 7 tracks on the record discuss his struggles with personal relationships, his disdain of fame and longing for a simpler life, and his outlook on life in general having made it to the other side of some pretty dark times in his life. I was so impressed with his ability to be thoughtful and contemplative to the extent that he was on the second half of this album. Songs like the leading singles “nhs”, and “feel away”, along with “push” and “adhd” are some of my favorite songs that have come out all year, everytime I listen to these tracks I hear something new whether it be an instrumental change or a line I missed about something he’s trying to get off his chest; this back half is incredibly dense. “Nothing Great About Britain” was a painfully honest assessment of his environment, and the second half of this album is a painfully honest assessment of himself. Despite him picking himself apart for much of this back half, the overall feeling given off is one of hope and calmness. He seems to be in such a more stable head space than ever before in his music career. His ability to make such incredible lyrical and thematic songs reflects that he is much more centered and in tune with himself. If you are a fan of hip hop or new wave music in general you have to check this thing out. This album has so much to offer, not a second of the 35 minute run time is wasted; if your music taste is anything like mine this album will keep you crawling back for more.  

 

-Michael Barnes 

 

Rating: 8.5/10 

 

Favorite songs: 45 SMOKE, MAZZA, DEAD, PLAY WITH FIRE, i tried, push, nhs, feel away, adhd

 

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