Mixtape Review-Trybecca by Death By Icon
In order for a region to maintain a trademark sound it not only needs to stay in close connection with it (not abandon it when the spotlight moves on) but challenge it with variation. Chicago established a bleak toughness as its modern sound when drill invaded everyone’s mp3 players. The challenge a lot of Chicago artists face is building on the inherent snarling stout structure already in place while taking it in a different direction. Trybecca traverses this and other obstacles with a premeditation and wisdom unlike most debut projects.
Hip hop bands have pressure to “jam” the way tall people do to play basketball. A normal rapper spitting over the beat can get loud and wild or quiet and meditative but if you have a band backing you most people expect you to crank up that advantage. Show the depth of your instrumentation and puff your collective chest out to convince everyone how different you sound; during this process projects become less cohesive (live shows are still a lot of fun). Think about The Roots. They never sit and worry about what to rap about the question they always face is “how is this thing supposed to sound?” A lot of rappers just grab the best beatsmiths and spit. A band has more to worry about than that.
Trybecca never sacrifices an inch. Kismet travels at 400 meter dash pace (Conundrum is a 100 yard dash); challenging your speakers while filling the listening experience with spooky darkened spaces. Toothspace kicks off in a brilliantly defiant fashion with a bored tone of voice explaining “I’d rather die my way than live yours or take a course in divorce law…” a sampled voice behind the song begs for the song to get louder but it never does. The sonic universe is so superbly controlled that nothing need be turned up. Even Let Loose, the perfect fist pumping road trip song, seems delivered exactly as it should be. Never to be remixed or tinkered with, designed by the steady fingers of nihilist hip hop scientists.
It took Chance The Rapper to make people realize that Chicago is deeper than drill but the active listeners knew that. The Whoevers, Death by Icon, Tree and so many others are experimenting while the world takes notes. It’s only a matter of time before it gets acknowledged for the different directions its growing into and not just the circus surrounding the drill movement. While Trybecca isn’t my favorite mixtape of the year it’s a Derrick Rose rookie season showing you not only is this kid good but he could be GREAT. I don’t know the names of the people who Death By Icon consist of. By no means am I an expert on their history or educated enough to project their future. The first time I heard WHT_club fold into itself and pull back out like an accordion I wanted to be an expert. That’s what a successful debut should do.
Stream or Download Trybecca below: