Do you like “Sunflower”? That catchy single from the Spider-Verse soundtrack? Okay, good. Do you like the late XXXTENTACION? Are you a fan of Future and Migos? Alright then. I’d like to present you Tyla Yaweh. He’s an up-and-coming rapper signed to Epic Records (via the London Entertainment imprint) off the strength of touring with XXX and finding minor success with songs like “Drugs and Pain” as seen below.
Tyla is looking for more than minor success with “Heart Full of Rage” though. His first proper studio album is deceptively long at first glance with 10 tracks listed, although the actual run time is just under a half hour. Still he’s linked up with some known names to fuel his rise to the top here, most notably producer Fernando Garibay, who handles four out of the 10 songs here including the opener “High Right Now.” If Garibay’s name isn’t immediately familiar to you that’s okay — he started out his career scoring songs for the likes of Enrique Iglesias, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga (you’d know him best for her smash hit “Born This Way”). Since the 2010’s though he’s increasingly worked with rappers like Nicki Minaj, Far East Movement and Big Freedia among others. “High Right Now” is “Sunflower” slick with the same imitable sing-song flow and hook of Post Malone and Swae Lee. It’s a guaranteed hit.
“Girl, I’m so high right now
I don’t think that I’ll ever come down
I don’t know where I am
My time’s frozen and I can’t comprehend
Can you stop? Quit fronting on me
I’ma stretch her back like a limosine
Everybody love me, tryin to surf my wave
On designer drugs, can’t feel my face”
All of the questions in the opening paragraph lead us to this point in the review, where I’m forced to tell you that Tyla is almost indistinguishable from any of the artists mentioned. As mentioned in my recent Jonah Wright review this is increasingly a problem for new hip-hop artists. Everybody is trying so hard to catch the wave of success that today’s generation of young syrup drinking, molly taking, AutoTune rapping emcees rode to the top that nobody seems to be aware the wave will crash. It may seem like the crest is never-ending, but I can see the shoreline ahead and unfortunately for some artists they will crash on the rocks without even reaching the beach. Tyla may be one of the lucky ones who got in at high tide. Songs like “Wraith Skating” with PnB Rock suggest he’s trying REALLY hard to catch that wave.
Time is running out. The kids and young adults who are into this style, being made for them by peers of approximately the same age, are going to eventually reach a saturation point where they’ve heard too much of the same thing over and over again. It’s fair to say that’s the reason Fernando Garibay has produced for so many different artists over the last two decades. You can’t keep making “Born This Way” time after time no matter how big that song was. All credit where it’s due though because his sound on tracks like “Who Shot Johnny?” is helping keep Tyla Yaweh afloat.
Honestly it’s hard to be overly negative on a young man like Tyla for seeing what has made his peers successful and wanting to taste that success too. That’s the American dream after all — hit it big and live the fabulous life. Of course there’s a downside to that too as XXXTENTACION would tell his tour mate… if he was still around to do so. If everything works out for Tyla I hope he keeps his head on straight (or at least straighter than all the drugs he takes in his lyrics) and invests some of his earnings for the future. Try not to flash too much jewels and cash in front of the wrong people. Remember that when you make it big people who barely knew you are suddenly going to act like your best friend — they want to catch that wave too. Surf’s up my dude.