On the same night that Tyron Frampton, aka Slowthai, was heralded as the Hero of the Year at the NME Awards he became a pantomime villain. His Mercury Award nominated debut album ‘Nothing Great About Britain’ – a rousing combination of grime bravado and punk energy – and ensuing tabloid headline grabbing performance, grouped with his ‘Bet Ya A £5er’ tour and high octane, oft-scantily clad live shows made him a bona fide legend. His ill-informed antics with comedian Katherine Ryan when collecting the award nearly undid it all.
‘TYRON’ is his balanced, remorseless return. At its front-end, he comes out swinging with manic, aggravated aural assaults like 45 SMOKE, WOT and VEX, peppered with slasher-flick strings and snappy beats that refuse to back down to the critics and suitably highlight his uniquely slurred yet fluid cadence and the star studded guest list alike.
CANCELLED, featuring “big bro” Skepta goes straight for the jugular (“How you gonna cancel me? / Twenty awards on the mantelpiece / Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury / Girls in the crowd got their hands on me”), while A$AP Rocky guest spot MAZZA sees the rappers take turns over a tight, quivering beat exploring their individuality.
“Look how shit changed / Feeling like these drugs made me better than I was… now I’m energised / I’m more precise” reflects Ty, while Rocky reflects on life before success (“Run up on you while you’re jogging / Make you listen to my Walkman / Mixtape shit”).
While the first half is the amplified, incendiary Northampton MC we already know well, the latter half is self-examining and complexly arranged. Slowthai opens up in ways we never anticipated on cuts like push, a duet with up-and-comer Deb Never, backed up by sampled acoustic guitar pickings. On feel away, we see Slowthai all loved up against ghostly electronics courtesy of Mount Kimbie and James Blake’s soulful yearn.
On nhs, Slowthai paints a picture of dualism by asking a number of rhetorical questions aimed at appreciating imperfection (“What’s a flight without turbulence? / A life without circumstance? / Boxing without another stance? / Country with no coat of arms?”)
Lending themselves to the inherent concept of inner struggle are ideas that contradict one another. The track focus is an ode to self-reliance, while on adhd an even truer sense of needing to be around those he holds close is revealed on a brief recorded phone call. On i tried, Slowthai concedes that “if hell is meant for sinning, heaven’s never been for me” while again on album closer adhd, he pleads “heaven let me in”.
Deeply personal, ‘TYRON’ unloads Slowthai’s flawed, human nature earnestly. In examining life’s imperfections through his very own, a tragic beauty is revealed.
Read our recent interview with Slowthai – here