Tuesday, 23 April 2013 11:10

Mixtape Review: TyLan "Insomnia"

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Do you ever hear the first several seconds of a song on the radio and immediately know what it is? Without the chorus or certain distinguishable sounds having been played, certain artists' music is immediately recognizable, which is typically indicative of consistency. For TyLan, a Saint Louis native, music is innate, and his experience in its creation has given him a major edge over other rappers. His background in piano performance and audio engineering allows him the flexibility to compose and produce his own music, which makes his mixtape Insomnia something special.

Insomnia seems to have a multitude of influences, whether intentional or not. A$AP Rocky brought the dubstep trend in hip-hop to the mainstream with his collaboration with Skrillex, and TyLan easily mashes his musical aesthetic into electronica and pop samples from the recent and distant past with noticeable dubstep tendencies.

Bo Dean, the king of the mashups, seems to have rubbed off on TyLan as well as Insomnia contains numerous samples from popular songs, which demonstrates TyLan's smart manipulation of previously created work to produce something recognizably new and fresh. However, some of the samples are in the weird gray area of being too old to be considered hot and on trend while simultaneously being too new to be considered classic.

Despite this, TyLan stands out amongst his peers in terms of production, as many local rappers are still stuck in the T.I.-driven street music anthems. Avoiding this uniformity, his keenly trained ear beautifully orchestrates eighteen tracks together into a unified body of sound. Without having to bounce between different producers whose beats he likes, TyLan creates his own beats and organizes them thoughtfully, which results in a wholly consistent sound. No track sounds out of place like an ugly duckling, and after an hour of music, the mixtape makes sense.

Though the consistency of the mixtape deserves much acclaim, eighteen tracks is a little too much. The brevity of new music releases can be refreshing, and it's always a good idea leaving your listeners wanting more instead of feeling overwhelmed. In this digital age of instant gratification, not many people are going to hear all eighteen tracks, which is an unfortunate truth.

Overall, Insomnia deserves a listen. With entertaining from features from Nick Menn, Bo Dean, and Yak Boy Fresh (and some others), TyLan creates a memorable mixtape for and by Saint Louis. His flow is on point and exciting, and numerous tracks are satisfyingly addictive. "Royalty" and "Renegade" are two standout tracks that best represent TyLan's skills as a spit-fire MC and his gift of producing polished music.

Download the mixtape here, and keep up-to-date with the TyLan on twitter @TyLan314

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