Push

Mgid Opt out script

<script> var MG_setRequestNonPersonalizedAds = 1; </script>

viglink

reactandshare

Loading...

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Taylor Bennett - Be Yourself EP Music Album Reviews

On his latest project, the Chicago MC deftly explores self-affirmation and paper-chasing without really finding the tension between the two.

Thanks to the gene pool, Taylor Bennett shares the same sort of amiable brogue and sing-song lyrical style as his brother, Chance the Rapper. But the Chicago MC seems intent on furrowing his own independent path rather than riding on Chance’s now very long coattails. Bennett runs his own label, Tay Bennett Entertainment, which hosts his new six-song EP, Be Yourself—an album, incidentally, about finding your own way. Bennett’s coming out as bisexual directly influenced the concept behind the project, as he explained during an interview with Time: “Something that I want for not just children but all my listeners—no matter if you’re gay, straight, white, black, rich or poor—is understanding the power of being yourself. As children, very early we’re pressured into automatically being a part of groups.”

The cover art to Be Yourself reinforces this way of thinking. The photograph shows the rapper slouched on a stool wearing nothing more than a pair of tight rainbow-patterned swimming trunks, a party hat, and a morose look on his face. Its message echoes that of the title track: Be happy in your own body and at peace with your own soul. Over poppy, piano-based production that just about avoids coming off as twee, Bennett raps about growing up in a poor environment, embracing a spirited work ethic, and succeeding in music to the point where he’s comfortable enough to present his true self and sexuality to the world.

“It’s Taylor Bennett your superhero!/The answer’s been spoken/I told ’em be yourself fast/You gotta scream to the masses,” he proclaims jubilantly. Then comes the punchline: “And niggas still call me faggot/But bitch my shit looking fabulous.” It’s a philosophy Bennett repeats a few lines later: “I’m an outstanding Afro-American bisexual having shit/Change your dreams if they average.” Striking back against prejudice is a righteous move, but the way Bennett does it champions the same pursuit of fame and capitalism as cure-alls that we’ve heard within hip-hop for decades. Making money and buying material possessions—“having shit”—will gloss over your flaws and insecurities. It’s a conformist idea that betrays the grander notions of embracing your true self.

This tension between the Taylor Bennett who wants to be naked and honest and the Taylor Bennett who endorses paper-chasing should be the central conflict of Be Yourself. Instead, the next three tracks largely forget about exploring any duality in favor of rolling out underwhelming get-the-girl tracks. “Baby girl you looking bad as fuck/But your friends want me,” he spits on “Better Than You Ever Been,” which features a showed-up Young Thug. By this point, the EP’s production has committed to a slick and saccharine funk style that plays it safe when a little sonic grit and dirt would go a long way towards deepening the impact of these songs.

The most revealing moment—“Everything I Can’t Handle”—comes closest to exploring the contradiction at the heart of Be Yourself. The song begins as a shopping list of fanciful desires: skyscrapers, mink sweaters, a personal Gucci connection. Switching up the tone of his voice, Bennett begins to question his desires, rooting their value back to a single-parent upbringing on Chicago’s South Side. He even has flashbacks where he wonders if he’d still be alive had a stray bullet “found its way.”

But out of this soul-searching emerges the same familiar conservative hip-hop life stance: “I want everything that’s granted/I want money, I want cameras.” It’s a longer-winded way of saying what JAY-Z told us all those years ago: “The streets school us to spend our money foolish.” Life’s ups and downs, hits and near-misses, acceptances and rejections all come down to having things. This infuses Be Yourself with an unsatisfying aftertaste: Despite seeming to urge us to embrace our individuality, it ultimately wants to be part of a similar group after all.

View the original article here

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...