Review: “!”

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Trippie Redd is an Ohio rapper who became a pioneer of the “emo-rap” sound, with his mixtapes A Love Letter To You 1 and 2 drawing massive attention for his unique singing style and lo-fi beats. As the “emo-rap” wave has died down in the past few years, Trippie has changed up his style. His 2018 debut studio album Life’s A Trip was a mix of emotional ballads and would-be trap hits each with varying levels of quality, and his A Love Letter To You 3 mixtape released the same year was his most refined and consistent work to date, and my personal favorite. Now, Trippie’s second studio album is here, annoying titled “!”. And after the success that was ALLTY3, I was hoping for another consistent, unique, and interesting collection of songs, and I’m disappointed to say that’s not what I got.

“!” starts out with a boisterous title track, with some dubstep-y Diplo production. But before the track starts you have to wait through five repetitions of the words “exclamation mark” by a robotic voice. This feels like it’s foreshadowing some unifying message for the album, but spoiler alert, it’s not and it feels like a wholly unnecessary addition. Other than this, the song is pretty good, even with some questionable lyrics (“Always mad on a Monday”?) with a nice vocal performance that complements the production well. The next two songs, Snake Skin and Be Yourself, have really nice melodies and lush production, but the songs have choruses with really heavy messages, like suicide prevention and self-identity, treated as side remarks to the rest of the unoriginal trap lyrics of the verses. I Try has fine production but a super nasally performance from Trippie, making for a super unpleasant song to listen to. Fortunately it’s followed up by They Afraid Of You, which has a good production and chorus. The best part of this song is the unique and ultra catchy feature from Playboi Carti. They Afraid Of You is possibly here as a tease to Trippie and Carti’s highly unlikely alleged collab EP. Immortal has a similarly lackluster Trippie performance, but a good feature from The Game. RIOT is also an extremely annoying song, with a mundane chorus, raspy delivery, and crowded production. Mac 10 is a super catchy song with a heavy, booming beat, an entertaining chorus, and some quality features. Along with Under Enemy Arms, these are the exception to my disdain of Trippie’s “crime lord” tracks. Those types of lyrics work for the Migos or 21 Savage, but they just don’t make sense when Trippie delivers them. These tracks only work for me because of the melodies. Every other song is pretty mediocre or uninspired, like the grating Everything BoZ or the lacking-in-anything-interesting Signing Off.

I was looking forward to something on the level of A Love Letter To You 3, but every song here is flawed in some way, and even the best ones are painfully forgettable. I was expecting some artistic development from Trippie, but I can’t really see revisiting any of the songs on this album in the future. I think this album will be completely forgotten very soon.


Tracklist Ranking:

  1. Mac 10
  2. They Afraid Of You
  3. !
  4. Under Enemy Arms
  5. Keep Your Head Up
  6. Immortal 
  7. Be Yourself
  8. Snake Skin
  9. Lil Wayne
  10. Throw It Away
  11. Everything BoZ
  12. Signing Off
  13. I Try
  14. Riot

Score: 3/10