Fresh off his successful debut album TrapSoul - that thanks to streaming did indeed go ‘Platinum w/o Features’ albeit without the hysteria that surrounded J Cole - (perhaps deservedly so as Cole has now gone Platinum twice without features the old fashioned way - and in comparison Tiller is more or less the posterchild for streams over sales - a soundcloud social media sensation for better or for worse). It should be noted however that Tiller is somewhat of a conundrum in this game, as he’s mostly reclusive and doesn’t like to show his face or give interviews, which truth be told adds a level of mystique to his artistry that makes him all the more appealing when it comes down to the music.
Nonetheless almost two years after his breakthrough success this was the perfect time to come out with his sophomore, a highly anticipated release that would likely determine his sudden stardom as either temporary or here to stay. Without further ado True To Self is critiqued track by track below, and for the most part it suggests that Tiller will be a notable name for many years to come.
Rain On Me
“Just rain on me…” Produced by Teddy Walton & Nes the intro has a SWV sample that definitely sets the tone for the 18 tracks behind it.
No Longer Friends
“Talk about you like a queen making him madder, as if he never even mattered… and you a bad bitch, you keep getting badder, this ain't the side ***** anthem, I've been straight forward, he's going backwards” ‘Young Pen Griffey’ definitely comes out swinging as this 2:25 record is arguably the highlight off the entire project, with solid production by Gravez & Swiff D and an infectious melody that will stay in your head for days. This one is definitely is a heater
Don’t Get Too High
“Girl, I'm not trying to kill your vibe, kill your buzz, I ain't tryna' sober you up, girl, I'm just trying to be by your side, and be the one that you saw first whenever you woke up” Produced by Nes this is another one with replay value, definitely playlist worthy complete with a smooth hook and a positive message to match. Notice how Tiller layers his vocals in the hook… that’s strong production that hides any flaws and amplifies what he does best. Tiller found his lane in R&B and he’s doin it well.
"Young Pen Griffey, I go to, I go to bat for my *****, the pun was intended, *****, wow, look how I'm livin, *****, angels say watch how you spendin, *****, devil say cop a new Bentley, *****” Tiller is spittin on this and it’s not necessarily flames but he definitely can coast on an instrumental, which is evident in his live performances where he actually out spits all the mumble rappers at award shows, albeit that he’s ultimately criticized for not having any dance moves. Although the rapping R&B singer is ultimately played out by now, Tiller just might be the best in the category.
We Both Know
“True, tell me when did you get so confused? Who told you I belong to you? I can only be alone with you, never on the road with you, fuck you like you're mine, that's what I'm supposed to do” Produced by Nes this is the first of many arguable skips on the album… it’s debatable and not trash by any means but nothing to be excited about either.
You Got It
“Bad lil' thing, yeah, True Religion jeans, yeah, super clean, yeah, what’s good with you and me?” Produced by Paul “Hollywood Hotsauce” Dawson with a very obvious sample from Kendrick Lamar’s FEEL. - which is kinda suspect considering FEEL. came out about a month ago - yet regardless this song has very little purpose on the album, and is a definite SKIP which if you’re counting makes 2 in a row....
“Sometimes I forget, sometimes you gotta put me in check…” Now we’re back on track… this one was put together by an ensemble of producers and although it’s relatively simple and low key… it’s a smooth groove and a worthy addition to the album.
“I've been working on myself, I've been balling like I'm Curry, need a jersey for myself, (I need a jersey for myself) What's next? I'm nervous for myself, if I changed, I became a better version of myself” Produced again by Nes this one has Tiller spittin and it’s decent but unless you’re a superfan and have a poster of Tiller on your wall… SKIP!!!
Run Me Dry
“Drop down, pick it up up up, swing it around, Imma go go go, drop that, down, Imma pick it up up up, swing it around, Imma go go go” Produced by Allen Ritter & Boi-1da this one has Drake & Dancehall music written all over it… yet the reality is that it’s just not that good… remember Wale’s ‘My Love’ record that came out last month? Even with Wizkid & Major Lazer it just wasn’t that good… and this one was a valid attempt but the same result… not a definite skip but not a must listen either.
“No way I'm going back, I been in mansions, I been in whips so quick that you lose traction, and made 6-figure transactions, met a lot of pretty women aka distractions, and some fuck ***** with subliminal captions, I won't (I won't) show these lames no compassion” Produced once again by Nes and this time with a sample of the Spinners ‘Do It, Do It (No One Does It Better), this one has Tiller spittin raps (notice a trend) and is the best collaboration between the artist and producer thus far on the project. Certainly worth a listen and decent enough to add to the playlists.
“That's hurtful, Bryson, I did nothing to you, I've done nothing to you” A pointless skit that’s nothing but a SKIP!
Teach Me A Lesson
“You just left town, yeah, you skated on me, bounce, switch locations on me, can't keep waiting on me” Produced by Ayo the Producer this one has Tiller actually singin and it’s smooth melody that’s well delivered, nothing crazy but worth a listen, undoubtedly a solid album cut.
"I always said I should keep you fed and now you're fed up, always said if I ain't happy give you heads up, I would rather give you back down, long stroke, legs up, known for giving you the best love, no I wouldn't give you nothing less, nothing less, love” Produced by Wow Jones & Ness, Tiller is back spittin and it’s not trash but very forgettable… this one you can SKIP!
Money Problems / Benz Truck
“I'm bout to go Kanye West on ******, you know care less if I upset some ******” Produced by Rob Holladay, !llmind (one more time s/o to !llmind) & Boi-1da, this one is more Tiller raps and by Tiller raps I don’t mean struggle raps but at the same time we don’t really need to hear it. Never trash but still not worthy of any real attention.
Set It Off
“She a pull the gun for me, pop 2, she a take one for me, set it off, if a bitch come for me, set if off, if a ***** come for me” Now this is more like it… when Tiller floats back and forth between raps and melodies he’s at his strongest… and for that approach this is one of the standouts on the project.
Nevermind This Interlude
“Make these other bitches seem basic (basic), livin where they go to vacation, you a goddess, you gracious” really unnecessary... SKIP!!!!
Before You Judge
“You see the shit is so new to me, bro, not the music, that's easy, it come smooth to me, bro, when I should've been in school, I was making tunes, truancy, bro, low-key, them cool kids weren't as cool as me, bro, I fell in love and had a mini me, thank you, Jesus” he’s spittin but he’s flexin on this 💪💪💪 another one produced by !llmind & Nes this one is 🔥🔥🔥
Somethin Tells Me
“I don't know why you do that, shower with the door open, why you do that?” Produced by T-Minus this was the only promo release out of the three that made the album, and in short time it’s aged well as the official first single. Not mad at this at all.
“(You will always be my baby) You were always, that's truth” Smooth outro, feels good 👌
Truth be told True To Self is about 10 tracks too long, yet it’s tough to call since the other nine makes it all worth it. Ultimately Tiller solidifies himself as a talented hybrid between the conventional sounds of Rap & R&B, and although none of the records are certified smash hits that will hit you over the head on first listen, if you live with the album some of these melodies will be infused in your brain and you’ll be glad you stayed with it. Overall ‘No Longer Friends’, ‘Don’t Get Too High’, ‘Before You Judge,’ and ‘Somethin Tells Me’ are definitely the highlights, and all together his sophomore album is good enough to keep his name on the A list for a lil while longer.