Revisiting Bryson Tiller’s ‘TRAPSOUL’ – Was It Undervalued?

Bryson Tiller, T R A P S O U L © Bryson Tiller / RCA

Bryson Tiller • TRAPSOUL • Bryson Tiller / RCA • Release Date: 9.25.15

You can’t rewrite history – what’s happened has already happened. BUT, you can evolve on certain opinions and etc. Perhaps that’s the case with yours truly and Louisville, Kentucky singer/rapper Bryson Tiller. Back in October 2015, I wrote a short take on Tiller’s debut album, TRAPSOUL and in the spirit of the Meryl Streep film Doubt, well, “I had my doubts” about Tiller artistically.

Ultimately, TRAPSOUL earned a below average rating from me, receiving the ★★½ out of ★★★★★ rating. Even with this rating, your boy felt bad:

At best it’s in the middle, but TRAPSOUL does show potential, which means a lot. Is the Kentucky born and bred music journalist hating on the Kentucky bred hip-hop artist? Nope – just trying to help a brother step up his game to the next level next round!

Harsh? Judgmental? A Hater? Maybe, but at the time, TRAPSOUL just wasn’t doing it for me. Now, “Exchange” is a song that is among my most played on my iPod where before it wasn’t even one of my favorites from TRAPSOUL. Was I in a bad mood when listening to TRAPSOUL initially? Maybe, or maybe what’s happened is taking a second-look – giving an album a second chance. How dramatically was the second look of TRAPSOUL for yours truly? Mr. Tiller, your fellow Kentuckian has supported you, via iTunes with his Christmas iTunes gift card.

So is the point of this to apologize to Tiller, his fans, and suddenly make myself as a critic vulnerable? No – critics aren’t what you call the apologetic type. The point is that music critics as well as everyday music listeners and lovers evolve. The case of TRAPSOUL is that I enjoy the album now after spending some time analyzing and not going for the initial snapshot that we sometimes make when reviewing an album or making an evaluative judgment.

Cee Lo Green, Heart Blanche © Atlantic

Here’s another example, where it works in the adverse direction for the artist. When reviewing and listening to CeeLo Green’s Heart Blanche, I was onboard with the soulful musician’s latest album, so much so that Green got a ★★★★ rating. Looking at others’ reviews, they were much less enthusiastic, with some even hating it with a passion. While I don’t hate Heart Blanche, post-review, it is an album that I overrated, maybe as much as a star. Again, it’s not revisionism as that review rating stands, but if the album were to be reexamined, CeeLo might not be as lucky.

But back to Bryson Tiller… while TRAPSOUL still wouldn’t make my best of 2015 albums list per se, I undervalued it. So instead of ★★ ½, that rating is at least bumped up to ★★★, maybe ★★★½ – WAIT! – That might be pushing it J.

Favorites: “Exchange,” “Let Em Know,” “Don’t” and “Sorry”

★★½ ★★★, maybe more



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