Music

Bryson Tiller’s ‘Trapsoul’ Reissue Uses Nostalgia To Rights His Wrongs, As Most Deluxe Albums Should Do

Last week, Bryson Tiller shared a deluxe reissue of his beloved Trapsoul album, one that arrived almost five years after its original release. The reissue was released with three previously-unofficial singles by the Louisville native: “Just Another Interlude” — which flaunts a sample of Drake and Omarion’s “Bria’s Interlude” — “Self Righteous,” and a remix of “Rambo” with The Weeknd. While many, including myself, rolled their eyes at the idea of a deluxe album dropping a half-decade after the original album, the narrative behind its release is a bit more than the presumed cash grab. It’s an undeniable opportunity for Bryson to start fresh and bring his disgruntled fanbase back to his good side before the release of his upcoming album.

This takes us back to 2017 when Bryson released his second studio album, True To Self. He was less than two years removed from the record that not only changed his life, but one that his fans filled with immensely loyal supporters heralded as an R&B classic. Despite this, Bryson failed to recapture the magic, a downfall that earned the infamous “sophomore slump” title. While this writer believes the album wasn’t nearly as bad as social media made it to be, Bryson explained on multiple occasions why the album failed to meet expectations. “I was in a dark, dark place after Trapsoul, so I don’t know, I wanted to start over and I just don’t feel like I made it yet,” he said in a December 2017 interview with Tim Westwood. Months later in a 2018 tweet, Bryson would further explain his distaste with True To Self, saying, “I was depressed before I made that album and you can hear it in the music.” Three years later, his sentiments with the album remained the same as he explained it in an interview with Billboard.

It was two years after Trapsoul came out and I was going through a lot of sh*t — like, legal stuff and personal stuff. I didn’t really want to create an album at that time […] I wasn’t really trying to put energy or time into it. I wasn’t really trying. It was just me being lazy. It was my C-game.

With all this in mind, it begins to become clearer and clearer why Bryson opted to release Trapsoul deluxe album almost five years after its release. It gives the “Don’t” singer an opportunity to drown his listeners in its nostalgia and use the natural substance to scrape the bad taste left by True To Self with just weeks left until the arrival of his third album. Bryson has to be aware that Trapsoul is his fans’ siren song. Its re-release saw fans delving into their relationship woes of the last decade in a moment of toxic reminiscing. It also, for what might be the first time in three years, gave him a legitimate reason to celebrate his musical offerings as it wiped his slate clean and pushed his fans to deliver a momentary wave of forgiveness. This is one of the few benefits of deluxe albums and re-released projects.

Deluxe albums and re-released projects have far overstayed their 2020 visit. Its presence may not be the absolute worst thing ever, but like a lingering relative who is two months past their “three-week visit,” the additional person taking up space in the house nags you just enough for consistent discomfort. While deluxe albums and repackaged releases are nothing more than a cash grab or a simpler and cheaper way to release music 85% of the time, the other 15% is much more intentional. They can aim to correct past faults and attend to the fanbase’s latecomers.

Take Pop Smoke’s posthumous debut Shoot For The Moon, Aim For The Stars for example. The album received a deluxe reissue after fans were underwhelmed by its initial release. The absence and presence of certain names and songs were questioned, leaving fans to wonder if this is how the late rapper envisioned his debut album to look like. However, with the deluxe, fans’ complaints were attended to. Fivio Foreign, who also calls Brooklyn home, was added to the album on two separate occasions. Burna Boy was also added to the album, appearing on a “remix” of “Enjoy Yourself” alongside Karol G, a track that fans heard before the album’s release thanks to an unfortunate leak.

A similar narrative rings true with Lil Uzi Vert. The Philly rapper released his Eternal Atake album in March after a label dispute pushed the album back for two years after his Luv Is Rage 2 debut. Just a week later, Lil Uzi Vert would release its deluxe, one he marketed as Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World 2, in what looked like an attempt to deliver all the music his fans should’ve gotten during his prolonged label issues. Pop Smoke and Lil Uzi Vert’s deluxe albums both succeeded, to varying extents, in correcting and addressing their past faults and dispelling the levels of frustration and dissatisfaction their fans dealt with.

On the flip side, rising R&B talents Lucky Daye and HER received a jolting boost in their respective careers after their projects were re-released as albums. In late 2018 and early 2019, Lucky Daye released his I and II EPs respectively. Both were repackaged with a few new additions for his Grammy-nominated official debut album,Painted. HER’s 2016 H.E.R. Volume 1 and 2017 H.E.R. Volume 2 were also repacked for her Grammy-winning official debut album H.E.R. in late 2017. The same occurred with the Cali born singer’s second album as 2018’s I Used To Know Her: The Prelude and I Used to Know Her: Part 2 as both were repackaged for her 2019 Grammy-nominated album, I Used to Know Her. While this strategy might be bothersome for the day-one fans of these artists as anticipated releases turn out to be nothing more than old news, it favors the artists by maximizing the fanbase that their impeccable talents deserve. When it comes to HER and Lucky, the proof is in the pudding. HER is a 10-time Grammy Award nominee and a two-time winner, while Lucky received four nominations at his first Grammy awards.

With the deluxe reissue of Trapsoul, Bryson takes advantage of both of the aforementioned examples. He corrects his past faults while favoring the late stragglers of his audience, regardless if their tardiness pertains to the whole Trapsoul experience or just the unofficial additions that were originally buried within Bryson’s SoundCloud page. Aside from Bryson himself, the decision for the rereleases should also be credited to Bryson’s home label, RCA, which is coincidentally the label that Lucky Daye and HER call home. With fellow labelmates like VanJess also engaging in the re-release trend, RCA highlights what a well-strategized reissue looks like when an artist’s best interest is at the forefront. Regardless, thanks to the Trapsoul deluxe, additional appreciation can be given towards the impeccable body of work Pen Griffey presented nearly five years ago.

Trapsoul (Deluxe) is out now via RCA. Get it here.

Lil Uzi Vert is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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