"Don’t” Sleep on Pen Griffey

Don’t” Sleep on Pen Griffey

First Listen to "T R A P S O U Lby Bryson Tiller

Garnering probably the biggest buzz over the summer that an “unknown” artist can get, Bryson Tiller, also known as “Pen Griffey” has done just that. The Louisville, KY native, was born January 2, 1993, burst onto the scene with the wave from his smooth, wavy ballad and first ever single, “Don’t” produced by Dopeboi. Although “Don’t” was released on Tiller’s Soundcloud on October 9, 2014 as a 1:32 snippet, the single did not gain much attention until Spring/Summer 2015 when it was officially released in May 2015. Tiller told The Fader in an interview, “I recorded this song in my living room…The last thing I expected was the reaction it’s received from everyone. It still surprises me 'til this day.” At the time this article was written, “Don’t” had received 24,669,071+ plays/streams on Soundcloud. I personally heard the single via an AppleMusic playlist one day while lounging over at a friend’s house. I stealthily pulled out my phone to Shazam the song and later went home and did some research and became an instant fan. I stumbled upon his Instagram, and me being a photographer, was immediately impressed by his imagery. Mega producer Timbaland, as well as one of the most talked about men in music til date, Drake, have both given Tiller the “nod” of approval. Drake personally reached out to Tiller via Twitter DM to express his sentiments on the single.

Tiller eventually had the chance to meet Drake in April 2015 when 40, Drake’s producer, invited him to their mansion.

“Last night was special. 40 invites me to the crib then Drake shows up and blesses me with these. Sneaker dreams and life dreams both fulfilled at once.”

Although many rumors and internet articles suggesting Tiller signing to Drizzy’s OVOSound, Tiller is officially signed under RCA Records, with artists like Usher, Chris Brown, Snoop Dogg Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, P!nk, Christina Aguilera, Pitbull, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, ASAP Rocky, Will Smith and many others. Tiller’s style of music, the way he effortlessly finesse back and forth from singing and rapping, is a genre he has crafted himself, and is ironically the same title as his debut album, “T R A P S O U L


Pre-Order release September 25, 2015. | Official release October 2, 2015.

Track listing:

1. Intro (Difference)

2. Let Em' Know

3. Exchange

4. For However Long

5. Don't

6. Open Interlude

7. Ten Nine Fourteen

8. The Sequence

9. Rambo

10. 502 Come Up

11. Sorry Not Sorry

12. Been That Way

13. Overtime

14. Right My Wrongs

1. Intro (Difference) (1:31) – Tiller starts off with an old-school pleading ode for a young woman’s attention and affection. He explains how he is not through with her and how being with him is different from every other guy she has been in contact with.

2. Let Em’ Know (4:21) – As track one is ending, the bass from track one is multiplied and this hard-beating, bass laced track starts. Produced by SykSense, who produced “Know Yourself”, “6God” and “Draft Day” for Drake, has Tiller rocking with a cockier persona. He is letting the interest of track one know he is not holding anything back. He tells her that he will be back and the guy she is with or currently has her attention, will not be there for long. Tiller realizes he made a mistake in letting her go and will do whatever it takes to get her back like “old times”. He “won’t hold back”.

3. Exchange (3:14) – Produced by songwriting and producer duo, The Mekanics, samples the 90’s song, “Swing My Way” by K.P. and Envyi. Tiller has a more mellow vibe, commonly associated with the internet term of “Draking”. Tiller begins to reminisce about his ex-girlfriend and pleads to God, knowing he messed up, and how he would like for Him to save her for him. He realizes she is the one for him and the old way he used to live was not favorable for their relationship. Now that “Don’t” has gained the attention it has, he hopes she has no choice but to hear his heartfelt lyrics embodied in it, in hopes she would take him back. The last time he ran into his ex, it was an awkward feeling because he wants her back but he has a sense of she had already began to move on. “So give me all of you, in exchange for me” is the most quoted lyric from this song.

4. For However Long (2:04) – Sampling Jodeci’s “Alone”, Tiller has began to entertain the thought of enjoying the “fruits of his labor” per se. With his newfound attention and success, women have been throwing themselves at him and he is searching for the right one like searching for the perfect beat or “looking for them hitters on SoundClick”.

5. Don’t (3:18) – Tiller’s first single off T R A P S O U L.

6. Open Interlude (2:41) – Tiller talks about opening up to a woman. He wants to clear the air of any and everything that has been going on between them. Tiller expresses how she has helped mold him into a better man and he has been trying to show her. He doesn’t want her to be nonchalant in her feelings and actions because their talks would’ve been in vain. He wants her to know that everything hasn’t been all peachy since their time apart and he has been suffering in deep thought about their future.

7. Ten Nine Fourteen (3:10) – With more of a freestyle-esque vibe, Tiller puts the soulful vocals on the back burner and fills the entire track with fast-paced bars. The seventh track references the date in which Tiller first put “Don’t” on Soundcloud and how it has drastically changed his life. “Ever since October, living out my dreams, they got a lot closer. Had to do it for my daughter before she got older.” October is also a reference to Drake’s label, October’s Very Own, in which he was given the co-sign. He describes his early days to his come-up and co-sign from Drizzy. “…really got crazy when, got the kicks from Drizzy. Well, the recognition from Drizzy alone. I remember when they slept on me; memory foam.”

8. The Sequence (3:14) – Tiller admits and agrees with the woman in which she states he messed up and he agrees but also believes in second chances. Fighting and making up tends to be their sequence in their relationship. He pleads for her to give him another chance, he though he knows he has messed up too many times and knows it will be harder to get her back this time. He wants to know that taking him back this one last time will be asking for too much of her or will she open her heart once again. “I won't stop 'til I get back what's mine”.

9. Rambo (3:43) – Tiller comes in with the deep bass thumps, in the sense of Rambo’s surging into battle. He states he is humble but will take it there if it is taken there. He is fed up with his competition and willing to eliminate them all if they get in his way.

10. 502 Come Up (3:16) – Produced by Gravez Music & J- Louis, the 10th track has a circus-fun house-esque feel. Tiller wakes up in a state of unbelief. He then begins to mention other Louisville, KY residents who have become successful; DeVante Parker - Miami Dolphins and D'Angelo Russell – Los Angeles Lakers. Tiller is true to his city (502) but realizes that people back home, have a small mindset and don’t understand the success he has gained. He will never turn his back on his city but states how hard it is for a young, African American to come out of Louisville. He reminisces on how all he had to do was take his career a little more serious and everything else will fall into place.

11. Sorry Not Sorry (3:20) – The first few seconds into track 11, you catch a piece of childhood nostalgia. Produced by Timbaland & Milli Beatz, you hear a sample of the popular 90’s video game “Street Fighter”. With his newfound success, everyone sees Tiller as a changed person. Many people he meet now have ulterior motives surrounding their interactions, male and female. Women who passed on him back in the day, are now being friendly and seeking his attention. Tiller is not willing to have a relationship with these women and does not condone cheating but he is often tempted to take that risk.

12. Been That Way (3:19) – After 3 tracks laced with hard hitting beats and fast lyrics, Tiller brings us back from the Trap to the Soul. Produced by Fade Majah, Tiller begins to smoothly serenade his ex in hopes to hopefully get back to the way they were. He doesn’t know how the two eventually grew apart but he insists that even with all his success and fame, he still feels the same way that he has all along. He doesn’t feel he is the one to bare the entire blame of their distancing but has been adamantly trying to rekindle their relationship. Even though his ex has told him to move on and do his thing, he did that but now he wants her back and the love was never lost.

13. Overtime (3:38) – Tiller’s ex starts to explain to him over the phone, how she feels about the two of them but states he has never verbally told her how he feels about them together. Produced by J-Louis, and keeping with the slow-down pace and coupled with the deep bass cuts, Tiller states that he has been working overtime to fully express how he feels about her. He does not care about how her current boyfriend feels because he is willing to do anything and working constantly to get her back. He knows that her current boyfriend may see him as a threat due to their history but it is his lost because he should have been doing everything in his power to keep her.

14. Right My Wrongs (4:09) – The final song is Tiller’s final plea and wants to know how can he right all of his wrongs in order for her to give him another chance. It’s his final ode for her to realize she does not need anyone else, no more failed relationships, no more wasted energy, if only she would give him this final chance.

Bryson Tiller’s ‘ T R A P S O U L ‘ is available for pre-order on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.