To those who’ve followed him since the first “Love Letter” mix-tape in 2017, Trippie Redd is a seasoned veteran. For more casual listeners however, Big 14 is a novelty act straight out of Generation Z. The emo-rap connoisseur has had quite the impact in a short span of time, releasing six total projects in only two years. The dude is more than a year younger than me and already has a substantial cult following to go along with a unique sing-rap sound. His brand is as boisterous as his kinetic voice.
His stellar output in 2018 – spearheaded by a phenomenal debut album and a highly versatile entry into the “Love Letter” (“A Love Letter to You 3”) canon – quickly became a thing of the past after his lackluster August 2019 record “!” (I was a fan, but many weren’t). I personally appreciated Trippie’s conspicuous attempts at stepping outside his comfort zone, even despite a clear lack of focus. Memes about the Playboi Carti feature being the only highlight of the album eventually led to the song’s removal from the entire project; a clear clapback at the fake fans.
If you don’t know by now, Trippie is a very sensitive person – an attribute that made him famous in the first place. Normally, he’s making his best music when he’s either sad angry, or both. The entire “Love Letter” series is a byproduct of Trippie’s revolving emotions. The fourth installment in this everlasting catalogue is no different.
Much like its predecessors, “A Love Letter to You 4” follows heartbreak and affection in all of its facets. The album’s first leg consists of predictable lovesick anthems, a Big 14 staple at this point. “Who Needs Love,” “Love Sick” and “Love Me More” bleed into one another as if they are a part of some dispersed trilogy. In one instance, you have Trippie in denial (“Who needs love?/That ain’t never changed shit”); in another, he’s trying not to care anymore (“Cause I’m so sick of love songs”). But wait! He actually does care:
“I wish that you would love me
I wish that you would love me more
Nobody else but me”
Moments such as these represent a peculiar lack of structure in some of Trippie’s recent body of work. Songs like the ones above aren’t necessarily bad (in fact, Trippie gives poignant performances on many of the guitar-laden ballads), just misplaced. The rapper offers up a mixed bag of feelings to accommodate these loose arrangements.
Aside from the first few tracks, much of “ALLTY4’s” highs fall towards the end of the project. Pi’erre Bourne’s whirlwind of hi-hats and xylophone is perfect for a frolic in the park with Lil Yachty and Trippie. These two can’t make a non-enjoyable song together. I mean come on, how can you hate these lyrics.
I’m a six-figure n***a, seven-figure n***a, eight-figure n***a
Nine-figure n***a, a ten-figure n***a
It’s me and my b***h and I’m gettin’ rich with her (Yeah)
She bounce on that d**k so I call that b***h Tigger”
I can’t think of a better musical duo under the age of 21; seriously.
Unfortunately, Trippie can sometimes be less enjoyable, like on the awkward “6 Kiss.” Juice WRLD and YMW Melly do their best to illustrate the “666” life without first taking into account the implications for what they’re saying. It’s especially cringe-worthy when the one who’s incarcerated is still talking about murder. The whole thing is a weird tonal switch-up that feels like a throwaway.
Most of the time though, Trippie finds a way to fully demonstrate his wide array of aesthetics. There’s his lovey-dovey side on “All for Me” (though Smokepurrp sounds ridiculous with slathered Auto-Tune), followed by some savagery on “Bust Down Deux” (Young Ovre spits a great verse in French). Heck, he even introduces an ultra-aggressive side on the bass-heavy “The Grinch;” perfect for spreading Christmas joy.
The album finishes off strong with a tender acoustic number featuring a stunning performance by Mariah the Scientist (“Abandoned”). Nothing like good ole’ tender Trippie Redd, am I right? I personally prefer boom-bap Trippie on “Can You Rap Like Me Pt. 2,” an ode to fans who’ve been with him since the beginning. It’s always been about the vibe and the image, not so much the lyrics.
Those diverse setoff vibes once again reach the forefront of a Trippie project. Despite its unevenness, “A Love Letter to You 4” has something for everyone. And for those who’ve been there since the beginning, you should expect nothing less from Big 14.