ALBUM REVIEW: Trippie Redd, Tripp At Knight
Editor's Note: Sorry Ibe, I had to demote this record to a B-. The beats are an extension of the Whole Lotta Red blueprint (or "redprint" for that matter) that has become influential in it's own right, but the production is far less varied. In addition to that, Trippie sounding decent came as a shock after 2 pretty bad records (Pegasus and Pegasus vs. Neon Shark), but in the end, he just sounds decent. His lyrics are especially basic, which wares down it's ability to be played straight through. I would personally give this album a C+, but to keep it a Standout, I will keep it as a B- (it was an A-).
Tripp at Knight proves once again that Trippie Redd is one of the most versatile and unique rappers of his generation. Bringing hyperpop inspired beats to a mainstream audience, Trippie’s unique brand of goth rap soars triumphantly as one of the most infectious and well thought out albums of the year. While criticized as repetitive, Trip at Knight is synchronized to create one of the most pleasant listening experiences I have had in a while. The attention to detail showed to each song allows you to find new things each time you listen to the album. For fans of production it’s a dream come true. Tripp at Knight shows a Trippie Redd who has found his stride as a songwriter. He feels like a wild alchemist, blending the best parts of his past work into something completely new. The result is a sugar coated masterpiece, filled with anime and video game references, equal part nostalgic and forward thinking. It’s a brilliant representation of our times and Trippie’s outlook on the world.
It’s no secret that over here at Anti we’ve had some disagreements about Trippie Redd’s music. Coincidentally, it was my beef with Ryan and Troy’s review of 2020’s Pegasus that lead me to joining the blog. It’s possible I was stan-ing when I defended that project (I wasn’t), but as a long-time Trippie fan, I argued that he deserved more credit for sticking to his guns and developing his sound, even if there were some misses along the way. Ascension was an idea that was critical to Pegasus, and a theme I was interested in due to Trippie’s career at that point. Tripp at Knight directly follow up on these ideas and makes for an interesting progression between albums.
The beats on this album are some of Trippie’s most inspired work. Throughout the recording process of this album we saw clips of Trippie toiling in the studio like some mad scientist. We heard snippets here and there, and from what we could see Trippie was in the studio what seemed like 24/7. It feels like he fell back in love with the process of recording again, something you can feel all over the record. The entire project has a tight and cohesive sound. The synths Trippie uses all have a sweet overtone that gives the album a colorful feeling. My favorite production moment on this album is by far “Supernatural.” Both the beats on this track are so hard it’s insane. The first half (take a chill pill) feels like I’m vibbing out in a Sonic the Hedgehog level, only to transition to one of the hardest beat flips I’ve heard in a while. It’s this album’s version of a Gundam mosh pit. I love how much detail there is in the background harmonies, and the way the synth switches up almost every verse. It’s pure ear candy. I’m really looking forward to when someone loops this on youtube for an hour. And let’s talk about the sequencing for a second. From “Supernatural” we get one of the smoothest transitions to “Demon Time” (feat Ski Mask). It elevates “Demon Time” from being a song that could otherwise be less memorable in the context of an album with so many gems. There are also just pure bangers on this record. “Miss the Rage” is up there for mosh song of the year, and “Betrayal” has become almost legendary thanks to Drake. I love the features he was able to secure for this record as well. Everyone came through strong, and hearing Juice go off on “Matt Hardy,” almost brought a tear to my eye. The features at the end of the album did feel a little forced, and ultimately I think the album would have been fine without those tracks.
Throughout the record Trippie explores the theme of growth and transformation, both as an artist and as a person. The first song is called “Molly Heart”, a really pleasant opener that’s about a girl who uses ecstasy to experience transcendence. It’s a love song both to the girl and the experience of ascendence on drugs. Trippie sings on the chorus, “don't know how I'm earthbound, but I'm ready.”There’s a really triumphant feeling to this song, even though its a little bittersweet. Anime references are sprinkled all throughout this album. Two songs, “Super Cell” and “Baki” take their titles directly from the genre; and video games, specifically Japanese ones like Resident Evil, get mentioned as well. I love how these references tie into Trippie’s progression as an artist. Anime is well loved because of its focus on underdog stories, teaching kids and adults alike that anything is accomplishable through determination and hard work. In Shonen/fighting anime, characters often go through several transformations or “forms” where they transcend their previous power levels usually by being pushed beyond their limits. This is concept that we can apply in our own lives, and one that Trippie is digging into with this record. After going through so much career turmoil Trippie has been forged into one of the most solid artists of his generation, one who is utterly unafraid of failure and confident enough take the risks that make him a one-of-a-kind artist. Trippie has always been unafraid to standout, and that’s allowed him to create a record that perfectly captures his vision, a feat few artists are able to achieve.