Ty Reign Needs To Speak Up
By John Ricker
Seven YouTube videos with the same picture and description for them all. I suppose this is the new underground.
The descriptions: “a project by Ty reign.” And nothing else. Having submitted his album for review through CALMTENT, Reign’s Instagram revealed that the rapper is 20 years old, older than what his music might suggest.
There are a few reasons why I thought Reign was younger, younger. Based solely off of my impressions of his 7-track project Tainted Memories, more than a few elements left a trail that is seen frequently by young people not treating their musical hobby as a career. Firstly, other than the simple description there is no more information about who the rapper is, where he is from and where people could find more of his work or his internet presence. There was only music. And that’d be more than fine if the quality of the music was a little better.
And when I say “music,” I really mean the technical sounds quality; the vocals were hard to hear and rough in the mix over the instrumentals which were a bit flat as well. The songs themselves I liked quite a bit. The sound seemed like a producer who got their hands on a time-stretch tool for the second time and made some tracks. But that’s all good,, that’s a part of sampling.
The sound of Tainted Memories reminded me of Earl Sweatshirt’s 2015 album: lo-fi, screwed-up beats, probably ripped from a song on YouTube, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The low payphone-like quality of the vocals also gave me vibes of Blu and Shafiq Husayn’s record, The Blueprint. But Blu is infamous for that poor recording quality. It’s unknown if Blu’s influence is what Ty was going for but it’s certainly not a universally loved tactic with most audiences.
I don’t believe phone recording was what Reign was going for, though. Because unlike Blu who used it as an intentional choice, Ty seems to fall victim to the project’s lack of production. As I said, I rather enjoyed listening to these 7 tracks, titled Phase 1-7, were it not for the lack of quality. If the quality was two times better I would’ve been fully invested. However, the production, dragged out melodies and hollow drums, was interesting and most importantly, unique from what the majority of young artists are putting out today.
There were a few drum patterns that got the hips moving over those staticy samples especially in the song “Phase 2,” a surprising vibe that caught my attention. But I don’t even know who made these beats, I can only assume that it was Ty Reign himself. But Don’t make listeners assume, give credit where credit is due in the description below the video, especially if he deserves it!
I did thoroughly enjoy a few songs such as “Phase 4” (it just so happens that the vocal quality on this track seems to be better than the other seven), where Reign’s relatable hook, “wasting his time,” grabs your emotions the way a Kid Cudi moan would, hitting you right where you beat yourself up. “Phase 6” and “Phase 5” are standouts as well with their awesome stutters of samples/drums.
I once listened to a record in high school by Drone called “Only Way it Could’ve Been,” put out through Dream Sequence Records, Ty Reign’s album “Tainted Memories” does just that, drones. But while both reminiscent of dark and damp sound, I loved the Drone album and I wish the quality of Tained Memories allowed me to love it as much.
If Ty is indeed “wasting his time” like he says on “Phase 4,” he should stop, because the music he makes has potential. However, potential just means he’s not good enough at his craft yet. Ty Reign should learn to make some cleaner music or outsource his music to an entity that can, because the music has the potential to really make a lasting impact with listeners.
And if Reign is trying to be like Blu, that’s cool too, but he should be more vocal about his artistic intentions and let fans can know that intent. Right now, Ty Reigns is just a low, hard to hear voice on seven YouTube videos that deserves to be louder.
This piece is by John Ricker. Follow him on Twitter @CollarJohn.