Hitting the scene with style and a notably considerate yet contemporary debut album, KingTrey blends gritty, hard-hitting vocals, with haunting, hypnotic soundscapes, and an unwavering level of energy – often to the point of leaving you breathless.
Suite Life kicks off the new project and is all of this. A simple key riff repeats in the backdrop, a trap-style beat accompanies, but by and large it’s KingTrey’s vocals that put in the bulk of the work. From simple bars to unbelievably fast-paced story-telling, the track moves from strong to invincible in under two minutes – setting the bar incredibly high for what’s to follow.
As Vision goes on, there’s actually a valuable presence of eclecticism between songs. Demons quickly changes the mood, offers a more reflective, poetic and inspiring manner of writing, with a softly dreamlike, soulful ambiance.
In many ways, this track hits with greater impact than the opener. Blending real life struggles with personal tidbits and poignant truths of our time, the lyrics and the music unite to offer a heart-breaking, captivating journey. The questions posed and the references made are powerful, so much so that a single listen is far from enough. An absolute highlight.
Elsewhere on the album we get plenty of high-energy jams and some further moments of mellow calm to juxtapose them. Poppa Sold Dope through With You (Lil Moon) deliver a fine example of this transition. Slide then blends the two and leads with a laid-back hit of scene-setting and a simple modern vibe.
During the latter half, Relate kicks in with compelling darkness and detailed, revealing story-telling. Unafraid to lay bare his vulnerabilities, his weaknesses and strengths in unison, KingTrey raises the bar higher and higher as the album goes on. Stunning rhymes and a flawlessly meandering flow prove mesmerising here.
What You Think is something of an unexpectedly memorable track, a single from the project with a quirky hook and another personal story that leads with confidence and bold leadership. Afterwards, a cinematic Road Map pours through with chaotic synths and intensity.
Lightening the mood at the penultimate are the bounce and good vibes of All The Time. Perhaps the most upbeat, easy-going or optimistic track on the project – a fun breakaway from the intensity and depth found elsewhere.
Then things come to a fairly epic finish with a track that seems crucial to the whole album and indeed to KingTrey’s story. How Tony Became Trey is another classic, soulful and addictive to listen to – smooth vocals and scene-by-scene lyricism help really hold your attention from start to finish. A brilliant way to finalize that connection with the audience at the final hurdle. Another definite highlight, from a supremely impressive, intelligent and enjoyable debut hip hop album.