Trippie Redd strikes again on his second album ‘!’, a title inspired by his late friend XXX Tentacion‘s ‘?’. Released just over a year after his debut record ‘Life’s a Trip’, Redd goes toe-to-toe with huge names such as Playboi Carti and The Game, proving his musical versatility.
With his raspy, booming vocal layered on mostly soulful piano keys, Redd creates a paradoxical experience. The soothingly plucked ukulele of ‘RIOT’, paired with harsh lyrics (“Fuck n****, why you cryin’?” Bitch, you should be dyin'”), leaves you oddly releaxed – even if he says “I’m from Hell where there’s red lightning”. The lighter lyrics, which occur later on in the track, do balance out the murderous imagery, as when Redd talks about his late brother, Oomp: “Do this shit for you / I live through me, I live through you”. The emotions seem all over the place – but it sort of works.
The album’s conflicting nature doesn’t stop there. Juxtaposing the lyrics of the fluttery, near-R&B track ‘Snake Skin’ (“Don’t commit no suicide / Say no to suicide, suicide, suicide”) with those of its following track ‘Be Yourself’ (“And I’ll remain the same, n****, being myself / And if you can’t, on God, n****, kill yourself”), he deliberately creates a state of confusion. We’ve seen this split throughout Redd’s discography, especially all three ‘A Love Letter To You’ mixtapes, on which he explores his emotional depths.
Although he often drones on certain tracks (a trope of all emo-rap, to be fair), it’s Trippie Redd’s prowess as a rapper that separates him from his genre peers. The Game assists the Ohio native on ‘Immortal’, Trippie’s croon intertwined with his own raw rap vocals and those of The Game.
This experimental concoction Redd delivered is a hit-or-miss. Although ‘!’ is well-put together compared to his debut, Redd’s mixtapes have proven him to be quite a luminary – but his light has been dim lately. It’s understandable that Trippie wants to experiment with different genres, but his execution is not as impactful as his unique vocals over lo-fi, or colliding beats. Yet this is a promising attempt at varying his sound.