Working at Papa John’s and UPS full-time to provide for your family while living in your car probably sounds like a worst case scenario. Only one short year ago, Bryson Tiller, a recent breakout star to the music industry, was struggling with his life. Now the rapper has gained an extremely large fan base nationwide after releasing a mixtape.
A lot of young musicians throw several mixtapes around in hopes of launching a music career. Tiller released his first mixtape, “Killer Instinct,” at 17, which caused music producers and famous artists to look his way. He gives credit for his beats to Syk Sense, a hip-hop artist who worked on “6 God.” He also had the opportunity to work with Drake, with his help, Tiller’s mixtape made a lot of noise early in its release. Several well-known music labels also reached out to Tiller, offering him a lucrative deals. But it was early friendships with critically acclaimed artists like Drake that made RCA Records jump at the opportunity to sign him.
Before Tiller had the chance to sign with RCA Records, he worked with his two main “music companions,” Drake and Timbaland. “Don’t” was a single that Tiller produced in 2014 and slapped on his SoundCloud page, which accumulated over 35 million streams within a matter of months. The song’s lyrics perceive Tiller to be a man that believes in a monogamous relationship, he speaks of the troubles that he has gone through and talks about how he wants to change for the woman and daughter in his life.
Tiller sat down in an interview with Victoria Johnson, a journalist for The Boombox, a website that focuses on R&B and hip-hop music, last month and discussed his recent success. When asked if he felt that he has changed from his teenage life to the present at the age of twenty-two, Tiller replied, “Yeah, definitely. Mainly because I’m better at expressing myself and now when I write songs, I don’t just try to say things that might sound cool.” Most rappers are surrounded by millions of dollars, women and enticing deals that cause them to sway from their original plan. We have all heard that saying, “When I make it big time, I’m not going to forget about the little people. I’m going to help my community and keep a cool head for myself and my family.” But those words end up just being words. Tiller, however, has kept those same thoughts inside of his head for the past few years after becoming a professional musician. Being humble throughout his career and putting his music and family before the “glory of the business” has shown that his mindset is different from most.
His lyrics tell a story. Instead of rhyming money with funny just because it happens to rhyme, Tiller’s music portrays his thoughts and ideas. During his interview with Ashley Monae, a writer for Vibe, he talks about everything from his life before he got famous, to his first album, TRAPSOUL. “I listen to a lot of songs and they aren’t talking about anything. I don’t connect with them. I’ll listen to something like Musiq Soulchild’s ‘Just Friends’ and I’m like ‘Wow, I really feel what he’s talking about.’ That’s how I want people to feel about my music.”
While his lyrics do differentiate from a lot of his peers, his music style reminds me a lot of Drake. Tiller’s cool vocals are paired with him singing. His inspirations range from Drake and Timbaland, to Kanye West’s early releases and Omarion, a personal role model who actually got him into singing.
Tiller’s music was unknown to most until he popped up on SoundCloud. In an interview with HotNewHipHop, a website that follows the newest and hottest hip-hop music, Tiller said, “SoundCloud definitely is key to my success, for real. I always knew that SoundCloud would be…I don’t know. I saw that you could like retweet music, follow certain people, get notifications whenever someone you follow posts a new song…I think that’s so dope.” Social media in this day and age has produced stars that we would have never discovered without the help of viral videos. Tiller’s mixtape is very big at the moment, but with the young artist releasing more tracks, including an outstanding freshman album, we can expect him to surprise us again and again with his musical talents.