Twenty-four-year-old Louisville-bred R&B upstart Bryson Tiller—who brings his headlining tour to the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in August—caught his growing fanbase off-guard in May when he dropped sophomore album True to Self a month early. The modern R&B landscape continues to bend and shift under the influence of hip-hop subgenres, and Tiller’s tremor-causing debut, Trapsoul, stood at the forefront in 2015, marked by the infectious, bass-heavy single “Don’t.”
True to Self picks up where Tiller left off. “Don’t Get Too High” models the bumping groove that connects Tiller’s sound to the beloved R&B of the 1990s, before rolling seamlessly into the more sinister “Blowing Smoke,” on which Tiller proves he can rhyme with as much distinct style as he can sing. He smooths it out with rippling downtempo track “You Got It,” dabbles in right-now party rap with “Self-made” and out-Drakes Drake with the addictive, Caribbean-inflected “Run Me Dry.”
Old-school urban music fans might not appreciate the continued blurring of hip-hop and soul, but not everybody is doing it as well as Bryson Tiller.