As far as I and most critics can tell, the evolution of hip-hop hasn’t slowed down at all in the last couple of decades; if you ask me, it’s picked up speed in the past three years or so. The exponential growth of underground artists like Tyte shouldn’t come as any sort of surprise to those who know and follow the genre closer than most. In Tyte’s single “Whole 9,” smart lyricism is fused with a simplistic instrumental design that wouldn’t have been accepted outside of experimental circles back in the 2010s. “Whole 9” shows us what hip-hop is becoming, what it always has been, and what it could be if turned over to the right group of artists in this new emergent decade in the history of popular music.
There’s a lot of vitality to Tyte’s attack here, and in more ways than one, the tone of his vocal defines the narrative in “Whole 9” even more than the actual lyrics do which is no small statement by any critical measurement. It’s relatively easy for someone to construct a simple set of verses and find someone good enough at rapping to convey them to an eager audience, but to impart part of your emotionality into a song takes a lot more talent, which is precisely what this artist is doing here. He’s got the natural skills to do just about whatever he wants inside the studio, and on this occasion, he’s using all the tools at his disposal to make a point about his own capabilities.
I pick up on a lot of classic hip-hop influences in Tyte’s sound, but there’s more of a surrealist bend to his music than there is any sort of a throwback vibe. “Whole 9” doesn’t try to change the traditional hip-hop model as we know it; it simply works off of a basic structure and fills in the edges with a lot of texture, tone, and tenacity on the part of our leading man here. No one wants to hear the same set of beats played a thousand different ways, and instead of trying to get one over on his audience, Tyte is cutting into fresh content while adhering to the standards set forth by his forerunners.
If this is on par with what we can expect out of Tyte in the next few years of his career, “Whole 9” will be only the first of many headline-grabbing singles he releases to his credit. Rap doesn’t need any more posers or part-time lovers than it already has; for what I look for in a new hip-hop single, this track possesses the kind of striking sound that tells me its composer is a man of genuine talent and compositional integrity. There’s still plenty of ground he’s got left to cover, but if you’re looking for something from a fresh young artist who has all the potential in the world at the moment, “Whole 9” is a song you need to check out as soon as possible.
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