★★★☆☆

Just over a year ago, Malcolm Davis, better known as MadeinTYO, emerged from relative anonymity in the mainstream music scene with his hit single, “Uber Everywhere.” Within months, the song was playing on every radio station and at every party, solidifying the rapper’s place as a viral star.

Since then, MadeinTYO has steadily released smaller projects, including a mixtape, an EP and a beat tape. Amid great fanfare, these releases helped catapult him to a selection as a 2017 XXL Freshman, an award given to ten of the best up-and-coming rappers. In fact, his fame rose enough to earn him a spot on Big Sean’s nationwide tour. With his latest project, a 6-track EP named after his newborn child, called “True’s World,”  MadeinTYO attempts to capitalize on his rise to fame and set the stage for bigger things to come.

MADEINTYO

“True’s World” is filled with deep cuts that both exemplify the rapper’s signature musical style and lyricism and show how he has matured as a person and an artist.  Both his sudden popularity and his new family have forced MadeinTYO to grow up quickly.

With a blend of slower songs like “Eating” and high-energy tracks like “Too Quick,” he presents the figure of a man still caught between two worlds, equal parts commitment and swagger. On the title track, MadeinTYO raps “Even though I’m the man now / Still got problems at home even though I’ve got grands now.” He is dedicated to his new fiancée and family, but cannot stay away from the temptations of his lifestyle as a famous rapper. “I had to get a brand new b—–/’Cause I get bored too quick,” he raps.

Although the EP contains variety, the overarching theme is MadeinTYO’s commitment to providing for his family, especially his son. The three songs occupying the middle of the track list hone in on this theme, in particular. Even within those tracks, MadeinTYO’s pursuit of fortune seems to be driven by love for his family, as he raps “Told Distortedd if she want it, cop that BM drop,” on “Too Quick.” On this project, he presents his family as a unified front, which reaps the benefits his success together.

MadeinTYO has come a long way in developing his own story and differentiating himself from similar artists, such as Rae Sremmurd and Lil Uzi Vert. On his flashier tracks, he has the production value and overall framework to create certified bangers and follow the platinum trail that “Uber Everywhere” blazed, but he lacks the energy on songs like “Cashing Out” and “Depends,” which likely will not translate to commercial success.

In contrast, songs like “True’s World” and “Eating” possess this passion. “Eating” is an ode to his fiancée with Auto-Tuned melodic vocals over a dreamy instrumental backdrop. On this track, MadeinTYO’s passion is abundantly clear.

With the younger generation of music fans valuing high energy as well as powerful lyricism, MadeinTYO needs to ensure he puts everything he has into each track he drops. The rap scene is filled with trap all-stars like Young Thug and Migos who, frankly, brag better than he does. By trying to match them bar for bar, it almost seems as though he is grasping to maintain fan interest, but ultimately falls short.

With each listen to the “True’s World,” MadeinTYO’s youth is increasingly apparent, but so is a maturity beyond his years. He has proven that he has the skills to compete in the industry, but now must focus on creating strong, energetic and fully coherent projects. This past March, MadeinTYO was seen on Instagram in the studio with Pharrell Williams working on his new album. If he continues his progression and better balances the energy across his tracks, his debut studio album has the potential to be a hit. Perhaps “Uber Everywhere” could be one of many chart-topping tracks from the young rapper.

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