Just months after his horribly received album Pegasus, Ohio rapper Trippie Redd is back with his fourth studio album, NEON SHARK vs Pegasus. Being entirely produced by drumming legend Travis Barker the LP serves as the 21-year old’s first-ever rock album. Attempting to create an entirely new sound, can Trippie Redd restore his rapidly declining reputation?
After hearing the intro “PILL BREAKER,” which features hip hop’s other want-to-be punk star Machine Gun Kelly, you know exactly what your in for. Through 14 uninspired tracks, we witness Trippie spazz out about the most generic topics in such a lousy way. Whether he’s panting about losing a lover on “WITHOUT YOU” or referring to a female who arouses him sexually on “FEMALE SHARK,” the structure of each song is so preliminary it’s actually insulting. For a rapper who has proven himself to be a capable lyricist, you would think this would add an interesting aspect to the project, but in reality, he undermines this niche and instead writes at a third-grade level. While the songwriting stays this bland throughout, certain moments are redeemed by Trippie’s occasional captivating vocals. Don’t be fooled, the majority of the Ohio artists singing is mediocre at best, but when he uses his pallet properly, the LP becomes tolerable. The stretched-out cries on “GERONIMO” and over-induced sobs on “MEGLADON” best capture this rarely seen positive aspect. Out of all the forgetableness within this 39 minute journey, the collaboration with two renowned hardcore hip hop artists in Scarlxrd and City Morgue’s ZillaKami “DEAD DESERT” was abysmal in every sense of the word. Its poor structure, nursery writing, and worst of all, obnoxious screaming make the albums closer a genuine nightmare to finish. With no creativity, terrible writing, and a mediocre vocal showing, Trippie Redd shows he has absolutely no chance at trying to become a rockstar.
Behind the boards, Travis Barker and a few others do their best at salvaging the record but ultimately end up soiling their own names. As usual, Barker’s drumming is top-notch, and he serves as the heart and soul of every single track. This isn’t anything mind-boggling for the veteran’s standards, but the intensity and versatility with his percussion choices show that there are still some artists who care about their craft. Aside from this, the actual instrumentals are solid but do nothing to leave a long-lasting impression on the listener. Produced by Dark Waves, blackbear, Barker, and a few others, most beats follow the mold all 2000s punk did, which may send you down memory lane at times, but overall feels pretty dated and unoriginal two decades later. Throw cuts like “SEA WORLD” and “LEADERS” in your average punk playlist, and the instrumental components would be near impossible for the listener to tell you these were made now. The definite sonic standout here is “FEMALE SHARK,” which is quite beautiful with its minor chord progression and hard-hitting (but soothing) drums. As a whole, the soundscape isn’t bad by any means, but the lack of creativity and dated production makes the entire project feel like a half-hearted rehash of a way outdated style.
Walking away from NEON SHARK vs Pegasus, and I’m speechless for all the wrong reasons. In almost every regard, the album falls flat, and Trippie’s lack of care for anything he puts out is mainly why. After two utterly terrible releases, Trippie Redd is only losing respect from both his peers and the culture as a whole, and if he keeps going at this rate, he will be irrelevant very shortly.
- Good drum work from Travis Barker
- Tolerable production
- Trippie Redd does a worse job than Machine Gun Kelly did trying to make a rock album
- Bad songwriting
- Mediocre vocals
- Forgettable production