ALBUM REVIEW: Trippie Redd, Pegasus: Neon Shark vs. Pegasus
(Editor's Note: I have turned slightly on this album in the sense that I do see the appeal and I have fun with some of the song that are well-produced. While it's not the exact abomination I describe down below, be warned that I still hate this album as a whole. Thank you.)
Trippie Redd is a rapper from Canton, Ohio. He was one of the original “SoundCloud Rappers” along with Lil Pump, Lil Xan and Famous Dex who broke open the rap scene in the late 2010s. His signature elongated and loud singing style made him stand out from his contemporaries, making wildly popular collaborations like “Fuck Love” with XXXTENTACION as well as “Dark Knight Dummo” with Travis Scott. 2018 was certainly his year, but as time rolled on, he continued to saturate the market with his sound, painting himself into a corner with under 2 years in the game. His album ! was horrible, but it wasn’t until last year’s Pegasus (which we gave an F) that the internet really started to consider him as one of the worst modern rappers.
It feels as if Trippie is now on a quest to become the worst rapper-turned-punk as well. Previously, Machine Gun Kelly held that distinction after releasing his dreadful Tickets To My Downfall, one of the most insufferable projects I heard last year. With the stupidly titled Pegasus: Neon Shark vs Pegasus Presented by Travis Barker (Deluxe), Trippie proves that his tired vocal style sounds just as bad over generic rock instrumentals. Even though MGK is annoying and a fuckboi for sure, at the very least the way he writes and performs fits the style to a T.
Trippie’s energy is there, but that’s really all I can give him props for. He simply has no clue how to write verses and choruses for rock songs, he just recycles his already very tired style to mostly bad results. Take for example, “SAVE YOURSELF”, "SWIMMING” or “DEAD DESERT” who’s choruses are just the same phrases over and over again with different ad-libs and inflections. Without punchlines or references, he’s lost, often times he doesn’t even make sense. Take the verse from “Female Shark” for example, where he says, “you’re so emotionless, freaky girl/You show no emotion, and I love it/I can’t lie/Gimme love, gimme love, can we fuck”. Not only is he redundant, but she’s giving him love while being emotionless? Isn’t love an emotion? This is not the only song where this happens, he does the exact same shit on “LEADERS”, where he sings “Back in school, we were the leaders”. Leaders of what? Or how about on “Save Yourself” where he sings “life’s like Silent Hill”. In what WAY BRO??!!!!?
My main problem with the album is just how lazy and non-conforming Trippie is to these instrumentals. Travis and his band of studio musicians actually do a decent job at recreating ‘00s pop-punk and copying Deftones or System of a Down anthems. I wouldn’t say what he does is “good” by any means, but it’s serviceable just like it was on MGK’s project. Trippie just treats the shit like karaoke, never truly keeping pace with what’s backing him. On ALL of these songs, he just repeats phrases and goes “YeeEeeEeEeEeEeEeaAAaH” and calls it a day. Even with a legend like Chino Moreno going subtle on “GERONIMO”, Trippie can’t help himself. He could’ve used the opportunity to be quiet and build up his vocal performance, but as usual he decides to play the loud card in the first 5 seconds. There’s really not even a point in critiquing this song-by-song because they all have the exact same flaws.
Pegasus was an F, this is not quite at that level for a few reasons. As I said, the instrumentals are decent (though generic) where on that album they were atrociously bad. There’s no fucked up drum machines like on “Personal Favorite” or snooze-fests like “The Nether” to be found here. Everything is very punchy and exciting despite being compressed and sterile sounding. Also, I actually think “WITHOUT YOU” is a good song. The instrumental is complex enough for a song of this type, and Trippie actually kind of matches the energy of the track. “PILL BREAKER” would be an OK cut if blackbear wasn’t there I’d say, although it’s hardly a rock track. MGK is actually serviceable, I like his references to colors (“I woke in a red room, she did a white line”) as well as darkness and light.
More than anything, this album is an argument against Trippie Redd’s so-called “versatility”. Whether it be polka, trap, country or metal, you can basically guarantee that he’s going to sound the exact same. He has no adaptability at all, he created a single sound when he cane onto the scene and has never done anything different. It bothers me that people will give him credit for getting Travis Barker or Chino or whoever in order to say that makes his taste well-rounded. It was already proven on Pegasus, but this rock album proves definitively that Trippie Redd is tasteless. TAaAsSsStElEEEeeeeeeeessssssssss!