Review: True to Self by Bryson Tiller

After a fantastic debut with his breakthrough album TRAPSOUL in 2015, which managed to reach platinum status, Bryson Tiller released his long awaited follow-up  album True To Self. Although the R&B singer had initial plans of releasing the album in June, he gave an explanation as to why it the album was released a whole month early in an interview with Billboard. The artist stated, "I can't take the credit for that. It was just my manager, it was his plan [to] drop it a month early." The album's early release took many by surprise with its unexpected drop, but having had time to go on multiple tours, and to get feedback from fans as to what they liked and what they wanted, this album tries to satisfy everyone. From the fans of TRAPSOUL to those who preferred the work of the mainstream scene, True To Self tries to do this with a hefty 19-track production.

The project spans an hour long providing many R&B tracks displaying Tiller’s singing capabilities, alongside a couple rap tracks where he displays his diversity as both a rapper and R&B singer.

Many of his R&B tracks tend to speak on the matters of his relationships with different women throughout his life, especially after the success of TRAPSOUL and having performed a series of live shows. In his first track "No Longer Friends", there's dialogue which can be heard between a girl and what sounds like her boyfriend, where the two are arguing over her having, and possibly displaying,  feelings for Tiller. She's being accused of seeing him while being with her boyfriend, but she tries to mask Tiller as "her brother."  Even in one of his later R&B tracks, "In Check", Bryson gave the following rhyme as his reason for the album taking so long to be made: "Album overdue| You would find it hard to focus too| If you met the women I have| Hard not to get sidetracked." He also shows and expresses himself to another girl, who apparently smokes and drinks often, by saying "I'm the only drug you need to get you through it" in the chorus of "Don't Get Too High."

True To Self also delivers Bryson's first released attempt at making an afrobeat-styled song with "Run Me Dry." With fellow artists like artists Drake and Tory Lanez, to name a few, who've also taken a similar route at some point, Tiller, unlike the others, took a more melodic tone with this track. It delivers a more rhythmic and relaxed vibe to it, yet it's still very capable of being a good party starter.

In "Blowing Smoke" however, there's no real sense of creativity in the lyrical structure of the song. Attempting to once again blur the lines of singer and rapper, Tiller provides a catchy chorus, but verses that aren't really anything for taking notes as inspiration for your next mixtape. What is really worth checking out is "Money Problems/Benz Truck." Being one of the one of the better tracks on the album, it delivers both lyrically and melodically. This is something worth the 5-minute run time, offering something worthy of car stereo blazing for sure. Add to that a DJ scratch near the end of the song, it just makes the track more entertaining and interesting.  

Tracks such as "Teach Me a Lesson" and "Something Tells Me," alongside the many other R&B works found on the album, are Tiller's way of reclaiming himself as an R&B artist, taking a more 90s approach to them.

From listening to this album, one can tell that Bryson's latest work is more so catered towards appealing to a much larger and more mainstream audience than those who've praised his work and sat by desperately awaiting this album to drop. With tracks like "Run Me Dry" and "Blowing Smoke" it's pretty clear to see that.

Although the album has some noteworthy tracks, it's hard to say that this album was something extremely different to what's already out there by other artists. However, it's fair to say that this can be due to the current album's highly praised predecessor, alongside True To Self's heavy track weight, and its high anticipation due to Tiller's almost two year  hiatus, that really caused this album to not be accepted as something amazing, but still appreciated.