The vocal minority that rush to defend Trippie Redd seem to have all but disappeared with Trip at Knight, but after the abhorrent trainwreck of NEON SHARK vs. PEGASUS earlier this year, I'll gladly take some weak attempts to hijack Carti's style over ANYTHING co-produced by Travis Barker. This album, rightfully so, has been so severely mocked for basically being the same song 18 times over, and the criticisms are widely true! Skip to any random song on this album and it will mirror the one before it. Clearly, the hype surrounding Miss the Rage with Playboi Carti sent Trippie Redd into overdrive, and frankly, I was damn impressed with that lead single, and it will probably become my song of the year. Its backwards looped synth lead, euphoric background harmonies, and show-stealing performance from Trippie where he is in rare form, make is a blissful, distorted joy, despite Carti mainly showing up for the paycheck like he does on so many features. Still, I'm sure the success of Miss the Rage was the impetus for Trip at Knight, and while sometimes tracks come close to lightning striking twice, this thing is incredibly front-loaded, and with 18 tracks, the incessant sameness of the tracks work against its 50 minute runtime quite quickly.
Trippie Redd has always faltered on full-length projects, attempting to stretch out his sound way too thin. It's a shame, because his unique vocal inflections can be utilised in some interesting and compelling ways, but most of the tracklists of past albums and mixtapes feel bogged down with streaming filler and a clear homogenization of his sound, instead of outputting a concise and well thought out batch of songs. While on Trip at Knight the intensity is increased, with buzzsaw synths dominating nearly every track here, the notion of a formulaic approad to album composure remains the same. The "rage" style grows stale relatively quickly, and if the filler was cut from this project, you'd have a decent handful of tracks, but seven tracks in and it's clear Trippie has run out of unique ideas, and is frantically trying to make a hit. There's a great first run of tracks on the record that really surprised me, and for a moment I thought he might be able to pull off a whole project. Molly Hearts is the first introduction to the incessant vibe of the album, although it's still a banger of a track that sets the scene well, with a refreshingly confident and bombastic Trippie. MP5 is more of the same, with a formidable appearance from SoFaygo on the chorus. Betrayal with Drake is definitely one of the best songs here, even with its late addition. With a FEROCIOUS performance from Trippie, Drake doesn't quite match the energy with his more subdued addition, but it isn't a complete derailment. The aforementioned Miss the Rage, along with more top-tier high-octane tracks with Supernatural and Vibes , round out the highlights, but that's about where my compliments end, as from this point on, nearly everything is downhill from here.
The biggest blemish in this second half is the features. I know I sound like a broken wheel, but the fact that the rap industry still promotes the grave robbery of features from deceased artists is astounding. XXXTENTACION died over three years ago. Why put this Z-tier demo quality snippet on your track? December will mark the two year anniversary of Juice WRLD's death. Let these rappers live. It's difficult to listen to Matt Hardy 999 specifically, knowing that the majority of any surviving Juice content would have made it onto Legends Never Die. Yes, Trippie worked with these rappers in the past, but that doesn't give him an excuse to continue to profit from their late image. Surrounding these unlistenable tracks are more duds, stretching any life out of the gimmicky sound that found its limits in the first half. Lyrical nightmares like the horrendous bars of New Money ("If she ain't suckin' dick first night, then I'm gone") hardly compliment some sub-par performances. Super Cell has the worst beat on the project, truly encapsulating the "Geometry Dash beats" vibe that so many are clowning on Trippie for. The incessant anime references in the lyrics are just more cringe-worthy moments that drag down Trip at Knight a metric ton. The worst songwriting is saved for last though, with the five-track run from Space Time to Captain Crunch all varying shades of mediocre "turn up" music that could have been cut entirely for a much less obese tracklist.
On the surface, I really don't mind what Trippie was going for on Trip at Knight. While he definitely ran it into the ground, the core aesthetic of this album, if more fleshed out and diverse, could have been a competent project. But as it stands, the vibe garnered is so basic and formulaic that it's clear he's just trying to ride the wave of distorted "rage" trap that Carti popularised last year. The first third of this album is some of the best Trippie has put on offer for years, but two thirds of this tracklist takes a massive nose-dive in quality when nothing is changed up, and Trippie rummages through landfill to pull out the last remaining demos of Juice WRLD and XXXTENTACION's studio recordings. It's a shame, but on the whole, this album is miles better than the awful rock cross-overs we were given earlier this year.
Miss the Rage
Least Favourite Tracks:
Matt Hardy 999