Don’t Sleep | T.R.3 – GRIEF

Don’t sleep on this latest extended play from T.R.3. Some of you will hopefully remember the review that I wrote last month for his ANGELES EP. That was only the second project I’d ever listened to from him, and I was a bit taken aback when I heard it because it was such a drastic stylistic change from the first project I’d heard from him. When I saw this project on Soundcloud, I was even more confused because it’s labeled as an “R&B & SOUL” release. Honestly, I assumed that it’d be an incredibly mediocre attempt at making the kinda shit that PARTYNEXTDOOR is famous for, and I don’t even like PND. However, that thankfully didn’t end up being the case.

The project begins with Let Me Grieve, which has a super smooth beat from Johnny Minds. The way T.R.3 yells “DON’T TELL ME TO CALM DOWN!” on the intro is a bit dramatic, but I don’t mind it too much personally. The actual verse is really nice. He thankfully lived up to the title of the project because he sounds depressed as hell throughout the entire EP. He just sounds really defeated here. The overall attitude of this project is so different from that of ANGELES, so much so that it’s almost funny. I don’t think the verse on this song is amazing or anything, but the writing is far more interesting than pretty much anything that appeared on that project.

Suicide is weak, but it’s still a choice
Don’t accept defeat or you’ll feed the voice
And even if you feed it, it don’t fill the void

His flow is pretty nice too, and the hook is cool. I really don’t have any major gripes with this track. It ended up being one of the weaker songs on the project, but that’s not saying much because I think it’s dope. It’s followed by Peddling, which is the first highlight for me. I like the production here even more than that of Let Me Grieve; the soulful beat from Rapsody3000 is honestly amazing. T.R.3’s writing on this track is actually super interesting as well.

I found Christ in me, I think that it’s a great find
My grandma used to swear to God I’d hate God
It’s odd when she’d curse at me without using profanity
Young, but never dumb; mama, I’m tryna keep my sanity
Dodgin’ dogma & karma, they tryna take my vanity

This is better than anything from ANGELES, and I’d honestly take this over a lot of what appeared on his great 2016 album as well. I really love this track. I think it’s dope as hell. The project just gets better though because I like Cold-Hearted even more. rarebowy’s production here is super mellow and pretty. It sounds like a sunset in the form of music; it’s absolutely gorgeous. T.R.3’s flow is stellar here too. Since he’s rapping with a more dejected delivery, and his vocals are in a lower register, he almost sounds kinda like Mick Jenkins at certain points. That Max Keeble reference caught me off guard; I was not expecting that at all, but I appreciated it.

I been dealing with depression in the darkest hole
But I never told my secrets to another ho
It’s like I’m married to this music, where the ring at?
Like, if I hit it good I expect you to swing back
I been grounded, but, nigga, I got my wings back
No Red Bull, I see green and I seize that

He had a play on words about trees and leaves, and another about falling and seasons, and then another one about stakes and beef. It’ll either be corny or dope depending on your perspective; I personally lean towards the latter. Anyway, this is definitely another highlight on the EP for me. I think it’s dope af honestly. It’s followed by my favorite track that T.R.3 has ever made, Old Soul New Man. Johnny Minds’ production on this track is fantastic. He handled most of the instrumentals on T.R.3’s 2016 album if I’m not mistaken, so I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that I like his work here so much. I really love the melodic hook; T.R.3 isn’t sangin’ like Luther Vandross, but he has a melodic, somber delivery. It’s kinda like the sung hook on Earl Sweatshirt’s song, Inside. It’s a bit more despondent though. The melodic delivery persists throughout the verse on this song, which I didn’t mind at all since it sounds really good to me. Even though he sounds kinda sad and defeated, the content is relatively encouraging.

Got some new money, can’t spend the same dollar twice
New blue faces, got to hold ‘em for the first time
With a new rhythm ‘cause they catchin’ the old lines
Got a new watch tired of relivin’ old times
Got a new whip, but never been a slave in my mind
New rearview, leavin’ old reflections left behind

I think this shit is fucking awesome; there’s not a single aspect of it that I don’t like. It’s dope af to me. The next track is called World on My Shoulders. The production here sounds very smooth, almost like something that Action Bronson would spit over. It’s still very lofi though. I like it a lot, and T.R.3’s vocals thankfully aren’t super lofi, so I can actually hear and understand what he’s saying. This track is basically a love song. Love songs are really hit or miss with me, but fortunately I really like this one because the writing is genuinely very romantic.

Loving you is all I know, you can ask your father
We gon’ let this world win or we gon’ take it farther?
‘Cause Mother Nature teaching me the lessons of dogma
I wanna solve ‘em with you
Cross the finish line with you by my side
I told ‘em it’s first place for two
I’m tryna change your last name like bitter parents would do
World on my shoulders, only if I’m carrying you

This isn’t a highlight for me personally, but I definitely like it, and I don’t really have any serious gripes with it. It’s really dope to me. The penultimate track is called Soulmate, a Lesson Learned. The beat on this track is kinda jazzy, and very pretty. The singing from T.R.3 on the intro actually sounds pretty nice too. The writing on this song kinda gives me the impression that T.R.3 smoked DMT and saw some really fucked up shit lol.

Living in a pivotal stance, head on a swivel
Stuck in the middle of two universes
Reverting is not an option
Adopted a lifestyle of confusion
When I aborted myself, I found passion in death
Was fascinated with passing spirits

The song eventually kinda transforms into another love song, which is very fitting for the production. The lyrics kinda remind me of when I was going though my psychotic episode during my first semester of college and was in love with a North African girl who had big boobies. Needless to say, I ended up having my heart broken. Anyway, I really fuck with the song, although since it reminded me of a dark time in my life it kinda makes me sad. I like it though. I think it’s really dope. The closing song is called The Little Things. The production is fucking awesome, and I think this song has some of the best writing on the whole project.

Unloosen the noose, a breath a fresh air
I couldn’t breathe
Took my breath away behind that affair
Showed me life isn’t fair
Ironically, not amused
Using life as a muse
Yet we both feeling used
Abused by life & its cycles
And see the soul tie forever
I don’t believe in the bible
I think our minds are more clever
Knowledge reigns in my conscious
I brainstorm in this weather
If I do it for clout then leave me shackled & tethered

I really wish there wasn’t so much reverb on his vocals because it makes the sound quality sound pretty rough, but that was probably intentional. Overall, I think the song is pretty awesome. It’s dope as hell.

This extended play ended up being way better than I was expecting, and I’m really glad I didn’t skip over it because it’s now my favorite project from T.R.3. As of Sunday, February 9th, it’s still only available on Soundcloud, and I’m not sure if that’ll ever change, but it’s definitely worth listening to because it’s fire. There’s not a single track that I don’t like. Pretty much every beat here is fantastic, and I can definitely relate a lot to the darker, more depressing content. I don’t have any consistent gripes. The sound quality I guess can be kinda rough here and there, but it’s not something that really bugged me throughout the entire project. I think if you’re into the current lofi Hip Hop scene, this project is worth checking out. It’s a far cry from the Trap music that appeared on T.R.3’s preceding EP, so it’s cool that he’s not a one trick pony. This is genuinely one of the best projects I’ve heard so far in 2020. Do not sleep on this. It’s really great.

Favorite Song: Old Soul New Man
Least Favorite Song: Let Me Grieve


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Grade: A-

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