Published Feb 24, 2017There is absolutely no doubt that Chance the Rapper dominated 2016 —and might just do the same in 2017 — which both helps and hinders the musical standing of his younger brother, Taylor.
Coming straight out of Chicago's Southside like his brother, Taylor has been vigorously trying to tell his own unique story with the same completeness as Chance. Taylor's rise to semi rap stardom has been almost exclusively due to his family ties thus far, but his latest mixtape, Restoration of an American Idol, is a display of fairly distinctive maturity that finds the younger Bennett brother in the best form of his career.
The mixtape carries a similar vibe to Chance's Colouring Book, except Taylor comes with a much more traditional rap style than his brother's often gospel-tinged sound. Softly produced garden beats play backdrop to smooth hooks that would be borderline cheesy if it wasn't for Taylor's quick wit and double-time flow. He laces the majority of these nine songs with rapid-fire delivery flows, despite the tranquility evoked by the silky harmonies.
It's clear that Taylor is confident in his song and rap writing ability – even more so than on Broad Shoulders — which he states explicitly at the end of "New York Nights": "How could I change for gold rings, I go realer / I ain't got time to slow down, a time killer / I ain't got time to slow down my rhymes n*gga."
Taylor's star power shines brightest on the last handful of tracks, when he puts his brother's pages down and picks up a more a realistically reckless 21-year-old demeanour. On "Nobody Tell a Name," he claims to be "turnt up like Lil Uzi Vert" while "Posted on your backstreet / With a thick chick," and alongside uber-millennial Lil Yachty on "Neon Lights," he dares haters to "Run up on me in the 'preme and I might kill a n*gga / And still rock Bape and still rep gang / And still throw signs while my n*ggas do the same."
When this mixtape starts, it seems easy to throw Bennett and this project into the carbon-copy Chance pile, but after the full half-hour is up, it becomes clearer that Taylor Bennett is actually making a conscious effort to step out of the shadow, and he sounds better for it. (Independent)