Yep, it’s going to be one of those kinds of reviews, digging into an artist on their second studio album… again. Yeah, I keep doing that for some reason. Slowthai’s a UK rapper that’s been getting a lot of attention in the last few years, and I’ll admit I didn’t jump on the gun quick enough even though I did listen to his debut album Nothing Great About Britain which was a decent record. However, I was slowly getting into him purely from various features he’s done on tracks with Gorillaz, Disclosure, Amine, Flume, and especially that one-off track “Psycho” with Denzel Curry. Those songs, alongside some other one-off singles like “Enemy,” did get me to see what he’s all about.
Thus his newest album Tyron comes into the picture (yes, I know that the title is part of his real government name). The album in structure is more like 2 EPs in one since it’s 2 discs with 7 tracks each, clocking in 35 minutes. I’ll tell you this: they got the tone of this project right on the discs.
Disc 1 is where more of the bangers can be found. The first two songs slap pretty hard opening with “45 SMOKE” and “CANCELLED”, the latter having a guest feature from Skepta. Yes, that song is primarily about “ancel Culture and whether you’re actually serving justice or engaging in mob mentality, related to what slowthai dealt with during the 2020 NME Awards. Also, thankfully it doesn’t go into the kind of problematic territory you’d expect on a song about Cancel Culture (as in not saying what you want without getting consequences). “MAZZA”, which he says is short for ‘mazzalean’, (a word he made up by the way), has him going on about his depression and drug use while A$AP Rocky’s guest feature is more braggadocious while also shouting out people like the late Pop Smoke.
“VEX”, “WOT” & “DEAD” are also some decent bangers, although “WOT” is the shortest track of the tracklist, which is a shame because it does go pretty hard.
Now let’s go into Disc 2: this is the half where his introspective side is showcased. The production is very melancholic and weary as slowthai delves into songs about his confidence, his problems with drugs, focusing on bettering his life and yes, that grand recurring topic of music: the downsides of fame. That last part is primarily the point of”focus” featuring Dominic Fike and Denzel Curry.
The more the merry, celebrate, confetti
Kill an adversary over somethin’ petty
Mind the debris, couldn’t get a degree
Never went to uni’, street educated
Never lose sleep, slaughter the sheep
I am the shepherd, minimum effort
Required but people relyin’ on me
National treasure, tried buryin’ me
While that particular topic has been talked about to death in music in general, it’s not a complete turn-off as some of those issues do have to be addressed once you gained some notoriety of your work, as long as it’s genuine. Overall, that song is great from both a lyric and production standpoint, but if you were hoping for a full-on Denzel Curry verse, you will be disappointed as he and Dominic Fike only handle the chorus and the outro.
More of the introspective feelings come in the song “push” which he abbreviates it to mean ‘praying until something happens,’ basically riffing on the old saying “when push comes to shove,” and the song delves into the fact that he used to be religious in his younger days, especially around his brother’s passing.
Fuck the people tried doubtin’ us
I fall on my knees with my hands to God
Bite the hand that feeds you
If I said I loved you, I would never leave you
If I said I loved you, it’s because I need you (Hello?)
Call you pancake like I need my treacle (Mwah)
“nhs” is a song that I wholly didn’t get listening to it the first few times mainly due to the metaphors used (especially in the first verse), but in the context and tone of the 2nd half of this album, it makes more sense. The song is about the idea that while you’re experiencing the worst times, the good times will still make you feel sad, and given that the title is named after a government department to fight against CO-VID…. yeah, I do get it now. However, the first single I heard from the album cycle was “feel away”, a track dedicated to said brother I mentioned earlier, as it was released on the anniversary of his death. The track touches on relationships and putting yourself in your partner’s shoes, mostly your girl and how she deals with all the stuff around her. Plus, it helps that the music video for it paints that picture perfectly, and it was the first time that we’ve heard slowthai bringing in a different tone with his music.
Overall, this album does offer a lot in such a short time, with Side A being all about the bangers and joints that slowthai is known for, and Side B brings a more emotional side of him that we never noticed before. I’ll say that I did enjoy Side B more than A but all together, Tyron is a solid album.
FINAL VERDICT: Buy It. Tyron shown us more to him than what the eye beholds.
TYRON is from Method Records/Interscope Records/AWGE and is available on vinyl, digital download and streaming services. You can buy it directly from his BANDCAMP.