At 12:03 a.m. ET on Friday a press release arrived from RCA calmly stating “BRYSON TILLER’S BRAND NEW ALBUM ‘TRUE TO SELF’ AVAILABLE NOW AT ALL DIGITAL SERVICE PROVIDERS!” — a month ahead of schedule. The fast-rising R&B singer/rapper had announced just two weeks ago that the album would be arriving on June 23.
The album features collaborations with heavy hitters like Boi-1da (Kanye West, Drake), T-Minus (Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj), and WondaGurl (Travis Scott, Jay Z, Young Thug) — but also nine tracks with the relatively unknown Kentucky producer Nes, who’d sent beats to Tiller via a friend. “An hour later, I’m on the phone talking to Bryson on the assembly line” of his day job at a Corvette factory, the producer told Rolling Stone.
The Louisville, Ky.-reared singer’s 2015 debut, “Trapsoul,” went platinum and spawned the singles “Don’t” and “Exchange.” He previewed the new album with three singles: “Honey,” “Get Mine” (featuring Young Thug), and “Somethin Tells Me.”
“True to Self” has a strong ’90s hip-hop/soul feel — Mary J., 112, Faith Evans — but also a hard-hitting, very 2017 bottom end that stomps into the spotlight on the more hip-hop-leaning tracks like the irresistible “Money Problemz/Benz Truck.”
An hour-long, 19-track album with impressively little fat, on the basis of one listen, “True to Self” sounds like one of the biggest records of the summer, if not the year.