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‘genre: sadboy’ captures artists out of their depth

Machine+Gun+Kelly+and+Trippie+Redd+released+their+most+recent+album%2C+genre%3A+sadboy+on+March+29.
Courtesy of EST 19XX
Machine Gun Kelly and Trippie Redd released their most recent album, “genre: sadboy” on March 29.
1.5 out of 5.0 stars

Ever since Machine Gun Kelly released “Tickets To My Downfall” in September 2020, the oncehardened rap star has been imitating a pop punk sound that has granted him great commercial success. This has spawned a wave of new age artists, obsessed with bridging the gap between pop punk and emo rap. One of those artists, Trippie Redd, has collaborated with Kelly on numerous occasions but never in the volume of their new collab EP, “genre: sadboy,” which was announced via a surprise social media snippet March 23 and the full 10 song EP was released March 29. While the album attempts to capture the sound of emo rap, the only thing it captures is the sound of two artists that are far out of their arena. 

The EP’s opening track and only pre-released single, “lost boys,” begins with an acoustic guitar, which Kelly has grown fond of recently, shown through his acoustic versions of “bloody valentine” and “maybe” on his last two albums. The song starts off poorly, with a chorus from Trippie Redd that leaves much to be desired in terms of lyrical content, a trend that persists through the entire album.

Redd sings, “I guess I lost my life again / It’s just one of those nights again / No one wants their life to end / Drownin’ now in a life of sin,” expressing his feelings of depression and misdeeds. Kelly joins after Redd’s chorus, void of emotion, leading to a flat, insincere tone with raps about being blue inside and suicidal tones. The track’s lack of lyrical depth and Redd’s overused and autotuned “yeah” make this track a tough listen.

The second track of the EP, “beauty,” is one of the only worthwhile songs in the project. The song opens with a distorted sample of “Let Go” by Frou Frou that intertwines between Kelly’s rap verses and chorus. The song immediately gets into themes of despair with Kelly singing about nodding off as a result of extended drug use. They masterfully intertwine the sample saying “beauty in the breakdown” after every line of the chorus in which Kelly battles back and forth with himself as to whether he wants to let go of his drug-fueled life, or continue to indulge in the beauty of his downfall. Kelly’s rap verse seamlessly continues this theme and falls right back into the chorus. Trippie Redd’s verse utilizes his sound well, but feels entirely out of place in the song, singing more of a lost relationship that could correlate to drug use, but he fails to make any notion that connecting his lyrics to the theme of the song was his intention.  

The songs “time travel” and “struggles” both have head-numbing production choices that ultimately kill any enjoyment either song could have had. “Time travel” has a chorus that shows Kelly and Redd combining their voices in a way that is underwhelming and does not maximize their vocal range. The chorus also relies on ending nearly every line with the word “this,” which gets repetitive and overdone by the time the first run of the chorus is over. “Struggles” is a more heavy Trippie Redd track that sees Redd heightening his voice behind a seemingly happy guitar and drum beat with whistles in between the chorus and post chorus. The happy tone and whistles make for a puzzling contrast with the lyrics that fall even further because of flat vocals from a lackadaisical Kelly. 

The EP ends with a whimper, despite a sort of rebound with the ninth track, “who do I call,” which starts off with a chorus from Redd where he sings of being clueless where to go after a relationship had ended. This chorus and post chorus work well together, but is next interrupted by featured rapper JID whose high voice does not mesh well with the lower tones Kelly and Redd opt for. The song does not do anything special, but is mostly better than the low bar the rest of the EP sets. 

Overall, “genre: sadboy” is not a big swing and a miss but more of a strike three on a bunt attempt. Kelly found success in the pop punk scene where he could hide his lyrical misgivings behind quality production from Travis Barker and heavy voice, guitar and drums. Sad boy rap is the exact opposite of what makes Kelly so good in his current state. Instead of being able to express depression through punk rock tracks like “title track,” “nothing inside” or “I Think I’m OKAY,” Kelly has sunk down to the mumble rap that he is not even known for. 

While no one expected Redd and Kelly to have much lyrical depth with examples of previous work from the two being repetitive songs like “Candy” and “all I know,” one would have hoped for at least a little effort to show the troubled emotions of the two artists. The pair wanted to make a sad boy album and all they made was the boys disappointed.

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Billy Wood, Sports Editor
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    NathanApr 4, 2024 at 10:11 am

    Yall stupid this EP fire

    Reply