Over time, Jazz Butler has reset his profession quite a few occasions: In 2016, when he modified his skilled moniker from Yung Bruh to Lil Tracy, but additionally extra existentially following the tragic lack of his right-hand collaborator Lil Peep in 2017. At occasions, he’s drifted towards a extra mainstream rap profession—2020’s Designer Discuss 2 featured the likes of Pi’erre Bourne, Chief Keef, and the late Lil Keed, and 2018’s country-tinged “Like a Farmer” had viral novelty potential a number of months earlier than “Previous City Street” eclipsed it solely. However at any time when the highway appears clear and charted, Lil Tracy appears to swerve unexpectedly left. 2019’s Anarchy was on-the-nose pop-punk pastiche that might have been ghost-produced by Travis Barker; Designer Discuss 2 demonstrated how effectively Tracy’s delicate falsetto can mix with a extra simple lure sound. His new album Saturn Youngster is relatively a lot more durable to categorise, and extra singular—a cosmic synthesis of EDM, emo rap, and cutesy pop refrains that’s perhaps the closest an American rapper has come to replicating the rave fantasies and euphoria of Drain Gang.
No matter his sonic evolutions, Tracy’s soul continues to be the identical: an aching romantic with a perpetually damaged coronary heart and a penchant for poisonous amorous affairs. He’s largely been outlined by his relationships with different individuals; it’s nearly not possible to discover a overview or profile that doesn’t point out his shut creative kinship with Lil Peep, or his notable dad and mom, Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces and Digable Planets and Cheryl Gamble of SWV. As a result of Tracy is so typically considered via his exterior relationships, the truth that Saturn Youngster has no options demonstrates an artist asserting his voice by itself phrases. Tracy’s early supply was typically abrasive and buried in Auto-Tune however he’s change into a extra assured vocalist, with a sing-song movement that feels easy, even soothing. At occasions his voice tilts towards the cartoonish, however his supply is grounded by the catchiness of his choruses—he invokes the nasal whine of Blink-182, the sultry falsetto of The Weeknd, and the cartoonishness of iLoveMakonnen. Although not fairly on the full-blown Jaden Smith indigo baby tip, Tracy weaves a free aesthetic of astrological and intergalactic imagery into his tales of fabric acquire and emotional loss: “I really feel like Saturn/I bought rings,” he raps on “Touche.”
Recurring members of the Gothboiclique universe like Smokeasac, Bighead, and BetterOffDead all flip in manufacturing work, however Tracy additionally recruits quite a lot of youthful and lesser-known beatmakers, notably for drill-flavored tracks like “Location” and “Roadrage”—proof of an artist along with his ear to the underground. On Saturn Youngster, Tracy’s alt-influenced sound is reconfigured and retrofitted, making a sound that’s on a extra astronomical wavelength. Tracks like “It Is What It Is” have the closely synthesized, sci-fi taste of Pi’erre Bourne and Engaged on Dying. On “Heavenly,” Tracy abandons the direct rock signifiers however retains the pop-punk movement, stepping into over a wonky dubstep beat. “Roadrage” updates the Gothboiclique sound, marrying an emo-tinged guitar line to a bassy Brooklyn drill beat. “Knight in Shining Armor” and “Heavenly” every briefly break right into a heavy kicking beat that splits the distinction between synth-pop and hardstyle rave.
Inside a single track, Lil Tracy modifications his pores and skin and shifts into unpredictable shapes. On “Knight in Shining Armor” as Tracy croons about damaged hearts and faux mates, the beat mutates past his management. A gap crest of synths offers method to dubstep bass, which is quickly overtaken by a stomping rave four-on-the-floor, however all of the whereas, Tracy’s angelic supply stays a guiding star. It’s not possible to name Saturn Youngster Lil Tracy’s remaining kind, given his many reinventions, nevertheless it’s a variant that sounds extra comfy and assured than ever earlier than.