22 slowthai: TYRON

2019 #76

What do you think your chances are of making it as notable musical artists? Pretty slim, right? What about if you’re not already born into financial success, if you socioeconomic status is closer to the lower 50% than the highest ten, if your Daddy doesn’t know someone else’s Daddy, if you weren’t already on the Disney cocking Channel? Honestly. next to zero. Like, right next to. Absolute zero. Sorry.

Tyron! The drool! The droo…! Eugh, too late, gross…

How about rap music though?? The supposed authentic ‘sound of the street’, where the idea of hustling your way out of economic barriers and the laughable inequalities into which you were born are valued especially high? A genre where being born into prosperity or privilege are looked upon with particular distrust? A music and a way of life that has long been appreciated as the one direction out of poverty for people desperate to find some sort of alternative? What kind of chance does that offer? I mean, seriously? It’s still pretty freaking low, right? It’s not like you’re the one person who had that idea, and many of your peers will be actually really good at what they do and still struggle to achieve the success that you so crave. It’s another longshot, sorry.

However, how does that slim to none chance at making it in rap music compare to your chances of socioeconomic mobility in literally any other field? Social mobility has especially stagnated in the last five or so years, and if you want any clue as to what kind of money you’ll be earning in the future, simply look at what your parent/s earn, as there’s next to no chance you’ll earn more and instead far more likely you’ll earn less. Also, when your parent/s were your age, houses cost about £124.99 for a double bedroom attached, o you’re almost definitely far behind with that as well. So, fuck it, start prepping that SoundCloud mixtape, as the chances of success are slightly more likely than playing the lottery, and both are far more reliable routes to success than any accepted route. So pull yourself up by your House Trap and make something of yourself!

slowthai, with his infuriating lowercase name, had seemed to have made it back in 2019. His debut album has marked him out as a true voice amongst the working class, and one tiny success story amongst a forgotten generation, his songs were musically dark and his lyrics were unashamedly political. slowthai was raised by a single mother (of Barbadian descent) on a Northampton council estate, forever ethnically deemed ‘black’ black under the much loved ‘One Drop Rule‘, did Tyron’s lighter skin somehow contribute the amount of success he was permitted to achieve? I will now talk at length about colourism in popular culture:

Nah, only joking – I do want to finish this post before 2022, you know?? – I’m actually just gonna talk about that time he made a prick of himself at the NME Awards.

The NME Awards in 2020 were truly shocking. Really?? They’re still doing these awards? It’s unfortunate that they seemed to have stop naming a ‘Villain/Dickhead of the Year’ as of the year of Tyron’s 2020 performance, I used to love that award. George W Bush won it in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 (it wasn’t awarded in 2005, when everyone was just really nice), before finally being toppled by Kanye West in 2010. Harry Styles won it in 2013 and 2014, after those illegal wars against the Middle East that Styles forced the Western World into, unsettling the peace of the Earth for time immemorial. They also, regrettably, seem to have stopped giving out an award for the ‘Hottest/Sexiest Man’, which Muse’s Matt Bellamy won four times.

Hot

Tyron Frampton was obviously as surprised as the rest of us that the awards still existed, and chose to drown his confusion with alcohol while being awarded 2020’s ‘Hero of the Year’ award (previously handed out to Bob Geldof, Pete Doherty (twice), John Peel, Barack Obama, and the singer from My Chemical Romance). He then proceeded to make an almighty arse of himself. He was a gross little perv around host Katherine Ryan – who is an absolute God and Tyron could only be a pesky and sexually frustrated mortal next to her in comparison – and then started a fight with someone in the crowd who called him – and I’ve never actually heard this terminology before – a ‘wasteman’. slowthai was escorted out by security. No charges were made, and he was released the next day with what surely must have been the worst hangover he’s ever had. He apologised (properly, none of this “A lot of people don’t understand my comedy and I feel sorry for snowflakes who don’t appreciate it” crap) on Twitter and gave his ‘Hero’ award to Katherine Ryan. Little over a month later, the whole country went into lockdown, and Tyron was left alone with his thoughts and his regrets.

All that idiocy (I’m referring to his behaviour around Katherine Ryan here. I’m sorry, but starting fights with the audience is pretty traditional rock and roll behaviour, and we should always kind of stan that) took place on February 12th 2020. His second album arrived on February 12th 2021. Coincidence?? Well, yes, absolutely a coincidence. It was delayed for Coronavirus reasons for a week, and February 12th happened to be a Friday, the day records are released. Coincidences do happen, you know? Also, a metal rod held up the flag on the moon to make it look like wind was blowing, jet fuel can melt steel, and whatever God you believe in likely doesn’t exist. Still, the release date was notable, as much of the album is obviously in reaction to and inspired by introspections on his behaviour and identity, his struggles with both ADHD and the small amount of fame that has been afforded to him. Split into two halves, with a more aggressive, confrontational and self-assured (‘Fuck all these expectations/My heart and mind are at war, my soul’s out here playing piggy in the middle/Why do I feel like I’m holding the short straw?’), with all songs spelled out in appropriate caps, and a second half more ‘no cap’, with more introspective and slower paced songs with his distinctive anger turned instead inward, with Tyron’s distinctive lyricism taking a more central stage. As a record it far outperforms his debut, which was a wonderful introduction to his talent and star quality, but felt a little like a relentless and one paced dirge at times. ‘TYRON’ presents far more distinctive and individually successful songs, with several nominations for the best single track he’s done so far, and even manages to avoid the accepted problem that splitting a record into two part will break up the flow by managing to keep a conistent and well managed structure.

CANCELLED, though, his collaboration with Skepta? In the bin, one of the more ham-fisted and nonsensical complaints about so called ‘Cancel Culture’. Who’s trying to cancel you, Skepta, who?

BandCamp

Finally! We’ve not seen one of these since back in ’27.

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