The newest record between rapper and producer shines more in Chief Keef’s favor than Trippie Redd.
Trippie Redd has made the path to stardom as one of the pioneers of the SoundCloud era. His cartoonish, grunge vocals and croons shaped what is being made in hip-hop today. The rapper born in Canton, Ohio has been seeking out Hall Of Fame performances since entering the game. His earlier music would pencil him in as a kid experiencing heartbreak, peeling off the scars of hurt. “Love Scars” off his debut project, A Love Letter To You, is his most prominent track of despair and loneliness. It captured the atmospheric production, yet feverous singing that dominated that treasured era. He followed a collective of artists like Juice WRLD and XXXTentacion that would dominate that space for years.
As his career started to evolve, so did the music styles and sounds that the 23-year-old would experiment with. His voice became more prominent in A Love Letter To You 2. Trippie started connecting with the top of the mainstream panthea like Young Thug and Travis Scott on LIFE’S A TRIP and even made a rock album with Travis Barker as the helping hand on Pegasus: Neon Shark vs Pegasus.
Redd isn’t afraid to touch any space of music since being a mainstay in the industry. Trippie has worked with artists you would have never guessed to be paired with as a wanted feature as well like Curren$y, Sauce Walka, and Maxo Kream. He wanted to prove that versatility is in his nature and he can expand beyond the wavering yet iconic SoundCloud sound. But sometimes it could be a blessing and sometimes it’s a curse to test those waters.
While his specialty was using his wailing vocals to display his sorrows in the love department, he slowly faded from that regimen. The rap world has always approved a change-up in flow, genre, and execution. In fact, we have been begging artists to switch it up for years because of the tiring process of the same material (see DaBaby as the prime example).
With Chief Keef being the Executive Producer of the newest album Mansion Musik, with a spin-off of his own project Mansion Musick, we get an unfriendly, rugged Trippie throughout its entirety. Nearly having a feature on every track makes the album overcrowded. This project is an incoherent mansion party in the hills with diamonds, leanness, and savagery. It reaches its highest peaks of Chicago drill production and lowest valleys of basic bars of “brothers sticking together like Velcro”.
At the height of the party, there are enticing moments that make you want to start a riot. “KNIGHT CRAWLER” captures the intensity that the late Juice WRLD and Trippie Redd really sink their teeth into. Juice’s passionate vocals and Trippie’s accelerated flow correlate with the hard-hitting synths. “ATLANTIS” hosts one of the two features from Keef, dominating the descriptions of tough-talk that becomes second nature to him.” Draw on ’em like the Wild West, snipe his ass like Wesley/ Come and see if I’m an SAT, n***a, test me,” says Keef with conviction in his voice.
The other feature from Keith Cozart on “ROCK OUT” is a relentless, head-banging rap record. The Chicago rapper’s flexes of making nine million dollars in 2012 with ease compliments the song. It provides straight bars and aggressive ad-libs to make the track more pungent. “DIE DIE” brings out the experimental side of the Ohio rapper. He spent time switching vocal patterns every few lines from innocent squeaks to grimy yodels. Lucki added a colorful verse, despite it being shorter than I would have liked. The creepy clown laughter at the beginning of “KRZY TRAIN” meshes with Trippie’s grungier side. The hook and heavy metal guitar strings make it the crooner’s most compelling rockstar moment.
“I can’t lose my focus ’cause I’m married to the game (Wow, wow) If you acting out your conscience then I’ll blow your fuckin’ brain.”
While it sounds like you’re in for an eventful party, it does disappoint in one consistent way: Trippie Redd himself. Surely there are moments of vocal excellence, he has an uncanny ability to produce boisterous croons in the hooks. However, it doesn’t cover up the complete lack of creativity in his lyrics. You get the most basic package of gun talk and seduction on his longest record. On an album where he needed a spark in his verses, he comes mightily short on every single track.
Take for example the Detroit-inspired “FREE RIO”, where the street rap influence of lean and elaborate trash-talk exceeds expectations. Anyone from Rio Da Yung OG to RMC Mike, to BandGang Lonnie Bands, would have had the humorous one-liners and viscous flow filled to the brim. A simple “I was finna hit the bitch, but her pussy had a stank to it” from Rio or “Five-seveN rippin’ through his stomach like soul food” from RMC Mike would have put this at the top of the favorite songs list. Alas, he doesn’t do the song any justice, conveying the most rudimentary stunt rhymes he can give.
Trippie Redd overall lacks flavor on beats that crave a spicy ingredient. A lot of songs that have so much potential end up being duds because of his lackadaisical lyrical chops. “GOODFELLAS” lacked any killer instinct from him or his usual vexed feature Nardo Wick. A waste of a good duo in fit with Ski Mask The Slump God, aptly naming the song based on my feelings towards it, “TOILET WATER”. Then there are the forgettable tracks that become excessive to the album’s timetable. What made Trippie so unique in the past is left behind on Mansion Musik, which understandably is the point of this record. It was meant to be a party, but with 26 tracks it becomes more tiresome than a stay-up until four in the morning adventure. The lack of usage of his special gift, his emotional crooning, gives this listener a lack of variety.