By Staff Writer Mingxin Wang
Shrouded in controversy, slowthai has made countless mistakes in the public eye, from engaging in drunken antics on stage to harassing New Musical Express Awards host Katherine Ryan. The British rapper attempts to reckon with his difficult past, articulating his struggles and contemplations in his second and latest album, TYRON. Chaotic and poignant, the 14-track album delivers anthems of punk rock and stories of emotional turmoil in equal measure.
slowthai’s second album TYRON was released on February 12.
TYRON is split clearly into two parts: the first seven tracks, stylized in all-caps, pay homage to the hard-hitting lyrics and high-octane energy found in his debut album, while the last seven tracks, with lowercase titles, are less familiar, softer introspections into his place in the world. This distinctive track-by-track progression paints a timeline of the past few years of his life, starting from his messy public scandals and broken dreams to the overwhelming loneliness of going into lockdown.
TYRON starts off loud and drum-heavy with a track called “45 SMOKE.” The song is accentuated with an insistent beat pattern and a synth line that increases in volume as slowthai raps, “People think I’m Satan’s son / Shotters, coppers, alcoholics / Drinking Foster’s, anabolic.” While the accompaniment gives the title track a haunting and pulsing feel, the same background music appears in several other tracks, instantly obliterating the novelty of the sound. This results in a monotonous and lackluster sound in “CANCELLED” and “MAZZA,” falling flat in comparison to later tracks that play with unique beats and electronic instruments. However, slowthai glosses over this repetitive detail, replacing the all too familiar rhythm with a new one in the fourth track, “VEX.”
The duality of slowthai is portrayed in TYRON.
The honesty and authenticity found in the second half of TYRON stand out as the album’s greatest strengths. Subtle and stripped-back in production, slowthai accentuates his powerful lyrics with twinkling piano melodies and gentle percussion. “My demons pry feelings, die dreaming / No glass ceiling, try peelin’ back layers to find meaning / Revealing what you’re given is all you’re needing / Try breathing, you might find freedom,” he continues on “nhs,” emphasizing his decision to battle his inner demons. Rather than resolving his issues with substances and unaccountable behavior like in the past, slowthai has made it clear on TYRON that he has emerged from his experiences with a sense of responsibility and newfound wisdom. Throughout the last seven tracks in TYRON, slowthai puts forward a compelling message about addressing his troubling past and practicing self-love. The album finishes with a thematic and musical masterpiece, titled “adhd,” that satisfyingly ties together his dual personas displayed throughout TYRON using snippets of rhythms and lyrics from both halves of the album.
With TYRON, slowthai tells a striking story of self-love and appreciation. TYRON represents the rapper at his best and most vulnerable, capturing his musical brilliance and defining his tremendous growth over the last few years. “I hope this album can be the light if you’re in the dark. It’s okay to be yourself, f*ck everything else. Learn, grow, aim to be better than you were yesterday,” slowthai said.
TYRON demonstrates slowthai’s growth over the years.