TYRON is an album that encapsulates everything you need to know about the intricate mind of slowthai, as both a human and an artist.
Northampton raised slowthai garnered attention in 2019 with his politically charged lyrics and seemingly off-beat bars on His debut album, ‘Nothing Great About Britain’.
Tyron Frampton is recognised by many as being the man who notoriously held Boris Johnson’s severed head to the cameras during a Mercury Prize performance in 2019.
Not his real one I should clarify but he did later apologise after receiving backlash from mainstream media, explaining it was just a lavish political statement yet many fans did not believe required an apology.
His debut album was largely focused on the political and societal problems within Britain. Through this, he acquired a somewhat niche fanbase in the UK of other young people who feel the same disenchantment from the country.
However, both his lyrical and visual specificities of Britain didn’t stop his popularity rising overseas and on his latest project, ‘TYRON’, slowthai appears to be expanding his international reach as well as attract other potential British fans who were perhaps scared away by a certain Mr.Johnson’s head…
TYRON is a perfect representation of an album of two halves, utilising the classic vinyl album’s sides A and B. He devotes side A to the louder, cockier side of his character (even the track titles are in call caps for those who enjoy the aesthetic.)
‘45 SMOKE’ aggressively introduces the album with heavy instrumental that flows perfectly into the punchy ‘CANCELLED’ which then takes us satisfyingly to what some might describe trap-like ‘MAZZA’. All of these on side A will undoubtedly slap when performed live.
The project is for certain a non shuffle album that weaves seamlessly throughout and, although it’s an in two halves, the transition from side A’s final track, ‘PLAY WITH FIRE’, into side B’s opener - ‘i tried’ - hits you like the most delicate way a tonne of feathers can. Still heavy but soft enough to release the change in atmosphere.
His personal anxieties about 2020 definitely come through in this latest LP. ‘CANCELLED’ (featuring grime legend Skepta) is an undisguised reference to cancel culture that is hitting a lot of celebrities, particularly men in focus.
In February 2020, slowthai was for once receiving myriad unwanted attention after he acted questionably at the NME Awards, where he was rather ironically collecting the Hero of the Year Award. TYRON’s final track, ‘adhd’, potentially alludes to his excuse-cum-apology for this event.
Alas, people grow, and he certainly has as an artist over the past two years since his debut release. Creating his second collab with Skepta and renowned US rapper, A$AP Rocky shows us that slowthai is an artist everyone has to take seriously now.
The more reserved second-half of this serving lets people see his more vulnerable side which is a welcomed transition with many rap-orientated artists avoiding personal subjects.
Side B features previously released singles, ‘nhs’ and ‘feel away’ (featuring James Black and Mount Kimbie). If you have already heard these two snippets, you can imagine what the other five tracks are like.
With these more sensitive topics, such as mental health, comes a slower pace. Most of slowthai’s music could be labeled rash and hectic, but he waters it down in a special way for side B. You can definitely still tell it’s slowthai, still tell it’s grime, but much easier on your ears for those who might not appreciate uptempo rap.
He subtly references his childhood and past, especially in nhs where he talks about playing Simon Says and housing estates full of barking dogs. It’s full of broad enough references for anybody with a similar upbringing to relate to. And I guess that’s the point. He’s speaking for everybody from the same boat.
With grime music, comes expectations of diss tracks and witty bars. Though the closest slowthai has come so far to a diss track is 'CANCELLED' (which is almost dissing himself), but the album is amok with witty remarks: ‘if anyone’s seen sleep, tell him I miss him dearly’.
For fans who learned to love him from his debut album, have no fear. Although it is more watered down than 'Nothing Great About Britain' when it comes to its political stances, slowthai still hasn’t forgotten who he is on TYRON.
With truly British references to football, musicians, and the National Health Service pinpoint that his music is primarily made for his fellow British, working-class compatriots and that this lad from Northampton is only going to improve with each release.