Laced with brilliant production and clever wordplay this LP tackles issues from relationships to his experiences as an artist in a bold and invigorating manner.
“Bty” is the latest album from an artist that has been on my radar since his collaboration with Lava La Rue on her brilliant tune “Letra” and I have been subsequently following religiously on Soundcloud (check out “Classic” and “L4B” if you get a chance). I must say, this album is exactly what is needed in the U.K. scene right now; from the noticeably electronic, sample infused production through to the topics covered, this is an album that does not stick to any predefined formula; it’s an emotive exploration of creativity and the outcome is a refreshing body of work largely about navigating the complexities of love in the modern world in an honest and at times beautifully vulnerable way.
On second track “Mama Said” we are exposed to this as we hear Tariq singing “Mama said to watch my head, tryna get this recipe right, I ain’t even caught my breath, I was trying to get my team bright” over dreamlike delicate chords that have an ethereal feel which contrast nicely with the deep sub-bass that has become synonymous with his sound. Through this song, he is proudly singing about the advice he receives from his mum, something that a lot of people can relate to but we are rarely exposed to in this genre. That honesty is a characteristic ubiquitous throughout the whole album and that’s one of the factors that sets it apart for me.
On third track “War With The Times” and my favourite of the album featuring Danny Trash and Lola Young, which is built around the melody of RnB classic “The Boy Is Mine” and starts with a introspective soliloquy and then develops into a skilfully produced song with a sample sporadically layering over the textured sound as he raps “Been standing for something and caught in the middle of nothing…” it’s a line that sticks with me every time I listen to this track, I guess it’s due to (once again) the fact that I can relate to this bar. Are you sensing a theme here? The song continues with a verse that sees Lola Young singing passionately “You left me again, I don’t want you no more…” in a manner that is bound to leave the listener feeling a certain type of way. Powerful song.
“Golden Eye” is another standout tune from the album as the hypnotic nature of the beat leaves you in a bit of a trance. Disu states “Sparking a fever, hypno sativa, pay me, some of my guys need visas” over a choppy trap style beat, layered with spaced out keys. It bangs. Light some candles. This is one for the late night for sure.
Whilst on “Don’t Worry” Tariq reflects about being “Stuck with this diva type” and on the opening verse we really see his intelligent lyricism shine through as he articulates “That indirect just ricocheted, indigestion different plate, in my section seal thy soul, the distance keeps the dicks away” and his intricate wordplay weaves in and out of the beat, which he does effortlessly throughout the track.
In a year that has kicked off with men unashamedly challenging archetypal notions of masculinity, with the latest James Blake record delving into profoundly emotional territory in a refreshing way, in “Bty” we kick off the year with an original record that is tackling similarly deep issues but in its own distinct way. Ultimately, through its production and somewhat poetic lyricism this album has the originality and versatility of the seminal Trap Soul release by Bryson Tiller which has formed inspiration for a whole generation of releases to follow. Through this album, Tariq leads, he does not follow.