There was nothing really, in some time, like Slowthai’s debut Nothing Great About Britain. It was this enigmatic and coherent spell that warped us into intricate rhyme schemes and political fair – in relation to what was going on in Britain with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He rose from controversy due to the nature of his 2019 performance at the Mercury Award, which showed Boris’ decapitated head. It was, in its own way, similar to the burning of the PM by Sinead O’ Connor on Saturday Night Live. But through it all, Slowthai wasn’t held back and continued to make strides like appearing on one of the greatest singles by Disclosure last year. With his new album Tyron he continues to provide distortion between radicalism and a broken identity that has made Slowthai the way he is today.
Tyron is unlike the politically and anger driven Nothing Great About Britain. Politics takes a back seat for the social-climate of his upbringing and the dual personality of Slowthai. The first half centers itself on the social-context of the themes created from the tales he places himself in. The moments of heightening violence and aggression blurts out and it’s as refreshing as his debut, even if the instrumentals come off with slight redundancy. It is reflective of certain themes on the album, like drug abuse and depression.
But of the themes that appear on Tyron, death is an effervescent theme on this album. It’s like the ultimate come up and eventual comedown where at the end he feels reborn. He uses it as a way to talk about death in the various forms around him, like on “DEAD” which builds itself upon the phrase – “dead to me.”
This is before he starts to fully reflect the rambunctious/crazy nature of his past that wasn’t pretty. The lambastic response to his performances put an eye on him and the music further represented his actions. Tracks like “45 SMOKE,” which reflects most of the first half of Tyron as it weaves unhinging depravity.
“Take me for cunt, get knife to lung
Do for fun, it’s nothing long
People think I’m Satan’s son
Shotters, coppers, alcoholics”
“MAZZA,” with A$AP Rocky, his verbiage is eclectic due to his “no fucks given,” approach to saying what he wants to say. It’s built upon the irony behind the certain feelings uppers and downers can create (“happiness”, including money). The title is a play off the British slang term indicating a basic form of the word “mad.” Slowthai talks about the aforementioned ideas
“Suicidal tendencies, what’s up man?
Feel like I’m down, say what’s up?
Way too, way too, way too gully, give money.”
He contrasts what it means to be a rational being who can easily obtain money via credit means. But Slowthai is making note through English slang that he is hood or a real street thug, which plays as a double entendre for money making through different means. On one hand he could be a model person, instead he is this abhorrent human trying to rob you.
This contrasts A$AP Rocky’s notions to his roots and the people he associates with to demonstrate success and Slowthai will soon be at that level. A fun icing on the cake is the Trainspotting references in the music video.
After “Mazza,” and two slightly forgettable tracks, Tyron becomes a therapy sessions for the artist, though this time he has the instrumentals to back his emotions. He expresses why these fears that loom over him, despite the exterior nature he perpetuates to the masses.
“Disc 2” or the second half is where the album treads into a different kind of sound from the artist. He gives us the crazy momentum before calming us with his thoughts with focused down emotions. It allows Slowthai to break down more of the wall, while lessening, at times, the simplistic and meandering production from front to end.
However, hearing Slowthai breaks down his barriers subverts most of the connotations of the first half, but it allows for a solid balance in sound with the instrumentals laying bare bones. The track “push,” delivers a beautiful tale about the destructive behavior from peer pressure. He shows us his youth where his world was split between morally good and bad from society’s POV. Bedroom Pop artist Deb Never delivers a chorus that reflects consequences from the path it can take you and pensive nature after shit hits the fan.
Tyron is not as potent as his debut due to a different direction, mostly in the second half. Though it is the strongest part of the album, it doesn’t have a lasting factor like the enigmatically fueled Nothing Great About Britain. Slowthai brings enough for fans of lyricism to revisit, but the instrumentals in the first half don’t have the same weight as the second.