After making the undeniably great "Uber Everywhere", Madeintyo comes back with a release that sounds like he's coasting.
Let’s get this out of the way right now: "Uber Everywhere" is a great song. "Uber Everywhere" is a rare song, a transcendent piece of music that accurately captures the time in which it was made while also possessing staying power. Sure, the "skrt, skrt" ad-libs that peppered the song weren’t original by any stretch of the imagination, but did that prevent you from memorizing their placements anyway? Without "Uber Everywhere" would we have gotten Slim Jxmmy proclaiming "Uber everything to me"? (Probably, but the song is a nice point of reference.) Either way, the bored arrogance combined with the pairing of elevator music with an 808 truly captured something. When it comes to the defining songs of 2016, it’ll be hard to argue that "Uber Everywhere" doesn’t deserve a spot. But, like recent zeitgeist-influencers Post Malone and Desiigner before him, Madeintyo has had to follow up a massive song with a full-length release to show that he’s more than just one song. And like the two aforementioned artists, the releases have yet to find the same magic.
The great irony of THANK YOU, MR. TOKYO comes early, on introductory song "BROKEN HEARTS". "I wonder why they really wanna be like us / Wonder why they really wanna be like us," he intones twice on the song’s outro. That type of introspection on fame would be a welcome addition to the contemporary rap canon, a la the work Kendrick Lamar has been spearheading. Instead, he spends the rest of the mixtape giving ample reasons why you’d do worse than living like he has post-"Uber Everywhere".
The most appealing aspects of this tape, like much of Atlanta rap, lies in the production. There’s little innovative production on this tape, rather, K Swisha and Richie Souf, who handle the entirety of the production, add onto their established sounds with some of the vogue production tropes from the city. Where Metro Boomin used flutes to demonic effect on 21 Savage’s stunning Savage Mode, Swisha utilizes this instrument to marry it with strings on "SKATEBOARD P" so that they give the track more motion than the drum patterns do. Further, Swisha’s paranoid synths on "DRIP" complement tyo’s frenetic flows nicely. Souf’s two offerings, "GWINETT" and "UNTITLED" don’t reach the heights of his masterpiece collaboration with Villa, "Teardrop Mercedes", but their understated aesthetics reveal careful details on repeated listens.
The other aspect of the music -- the lyrics -- falter in their lack of creativity and inability to stick in your head. There’s your standard money talk, women talk, "Damn right I’m living well and you’re not" talk. What separates an artist like Gucci Mane, who basically traffics in these same areas with the addition of drug talk, from so many who have been directly or indirectly influenced by him is his ability to say the same thing in ten, 20, 100 different ways. With a working knowledge of his canon and others like him, when Madeintyo (or, really, most any artist) says "She get it wet like a mop", you shake your head; if this is what you’ve decided your (#)content to be, why not up the simile game to hyper-detailed or at least absurdist levels? It’s a critique found on tyo’s peer Lil Uzi Vert’s recent The Perfect Luv Tape, and while I’m not advocating for an oversaturation of artists who decide that visual surrealism is the way to go, there’s definitely more room for innovation in the genre.
To wit: "Uber Everywhere" is a great song. Like, a really great song. The kind of song that few artists get to make even once in their careers. The type of song that, once made, proves that you can make a damn good pop song and would afford opportunities to either continue making stuck-in-your-head hooks or look towards experimentation. THANK YOU, MR. TOKYO is disappointing because it embarks on neither of these paths. Instead, it sounds like an artist who is coasting, which, on a mixtape, is often what happens. But music is a fickle enterprise; after one fantastic song, the downside is that there’s always going to be the question of "What’s next?"