Image courtesy of Complex
By Maisy Sullivan
The Soundcloud rap era of 2016-2017 supplied the modern rap scene with dozens of noteworthy artists. Among the most popular is 21-year-old Trippie Redd, born Michael Lamar White IV. Known for his contribution to the emo rap and rap-rock genres, White returned to his Soundcloud-esque roots in his latest album, Pegasus, which was released on October 30, 2020.
Trippie Redd may be known for his original use of sad, intense lyrics from his first album, A Love Letter To You, and previously unreleased songs, but over time he branched out to upbeat music. Albums before Pegasus were full of upbeat songs, with a few emotional songs interspersed throughout. Pegasus, however, transitions back to sentimental music, with only a few energetic songs to choose from. Sitting with a hefty 26 tracks that span 74 minutes, the album packs a lot into one work.
“The direction on the album is supposed to feel mystical — Like dreamy, nostalgic, outer space,” White said in an interview with Lyrical Lemonade,
While this was White’s intention, the execution was not quite on point, as the album is a bit jumbled. The beats are mostly generic, and the features do not fit with the songs. The ethereal theme is not quite as present as he had stated it would be. With features from stars like Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes, Young Thug, and Future, their respective verses and contributions give unfitting ambiences to the album. Even with the failed execution of his promised mysticism, White still provided listeners with some notable tracks, despite some flaws.
Drake’s OVO record label gave us PARTYNEXTDOOR, who is featured on the romantic, sensual hit “Excitement.” Released as a single prior to the album, the song blew up on TikTok. It is used as a sort of fantastical soundtrack to emphasize the passion that comes with love, hence its title. The frisson-inducing hook features White’s yelling, “Shawty wanna roll with a rockstar,” undoubtedly making the song as popular as it is. “Excitement” is fitting to play on blast in a car… with the windows down, of course.
Pegasus’ third track, “Love Scars 4,” is a continuation of the quadrilogy of “Love Scars” songs one to three on three of White’s other albums. The original song kickstarted his success, and he progressed the heartfelt story through to “Love Scars 4.” While the track continues the theme of sentiment in Pegasus, it is also used as a parallel to his original “sad rap” style of music. The song features Trippie Redd pleading his love for a woman, singing, “Don’t give up on me, know that I love you, baby.” The love story depicted by “Love Scars 4” is perfect to listen to when in need of a good cry, or if this type of desperate heartbreak is relatable.
Trippie Redd’s new album isn’t as lively or peppy as past albums, like ! or Life’s a Trip, but one track stands out among the sappy songs. “Sleepy Hollow,” though short, can definitely wake you up. It is a bit profane, but the energetic beat, fun ad libs, and intensity of White’s voice make up for it. He boasts his confidence in the lyrics on the track, basically saying, “You can’t mess with me.” This song is perfect to listen to if the listener needs to be hyped up in any way.
Pegasus may not be Trippie Redd’s best album, but that does not mean it isn’t worth listening to. As an artist, White goes with the flow, and he has a very fun, carefree personality. His carefree nature is obviously expressed through this album, as he throws together what he sees fit. Fans can look forward to a deluxe version of Pegasus in the near future. Neon Shark, the supposed deluxe version name, is supposed to incorporate a lot of rock music, which could be more fitting to White’s emo-style rap. Regardless, Trippie Redd is an exceptionally fun artist, and all of his music is worth listening to.
Pegasus is available on streaming platforms everywhere.