The curse of Trippie Redd’s contemporaries haunts him throughout his new album, Pegasus. While other artists of his ilk have found success in the ghostly, echoing projects of the zeitgeist, Redd seems to have been relegated to picking up the last wakes of the modern wave, arriving to musical ideas far beyond their creative zeniths. With Pegasus, Redd continues a legacy of uninspired, reprinted production and singing with an album that fails to justify itself even remotely.
The same unassuming, drooping production plagues Pegasus at every turn. It’s like Redd was given dozens of tracks to whittle the album down from, and he chose every single one to sing over. Shortly before Pegasus, Redd released the Spooky Sounds EP, which is literally just a sequence of spooky noises, laughter, growling and ghosts. While the EP isn’t groundbreaking, this kind of willingness to try something out is commendable, and it is a willingness that is totally gone on Pegasus.
The best production on Pegasus comes when the songs are so stupid they’re fun. To hear the thudding, grinding beat of “Kid That Didd” is made all the more acceptable when it’s under lines about the Crimson Chin. “Weeeeee,” with its snapping guitar intro, is brought to life by Redd’s ridiculous, helium-infused singing. But these aren’t good things. Without artistic vision and drive, hilariously bad is still bad, even if it does have some modest entertainment value.
But the production of Pegasus isn’t the only element in which fault can be found. Redd’s singing, too, is in dire need of improvement and exploration. Redd repeats uninteresting lines with wild abandon, neglecting lyrical development in favor of repetitive verses that pretend to say more than they do. Redd’s words about heartbreak and loss are hard to reconcile with blunt lines about sex that find themselves in desperate want of nuance.
Uninspired lines about quarantine and Hennessy are trite reflections of a bland and circular ethos, but never introspective criticisms. It is surprising, then, that Redd’s image on the album’s cover, along with the frequent references to Pegasi, give an impression of an artist who does want to look inward.
Redd’s delivery is particularly unoriginal and basic, typical safe, easy movement that never has to change because the beats he’s chosen for the record are as stereotypical and safe as his flow. However, it’s unfair to criticize Redd’s flow too harshly, because Pegasus is primarily a sung project. It wants to have the best of both worlds — singing and rapping — but fails to invest heavily in either, and falls short as a result. A particularly bad offender is “Mood,” on which he patently recycles his flow from Lil Yachty’s “66,” a song that serves as an example of the sort of track Redd is trying — and failing — to emulate on Pegasus.
The lyricism and flow are, frankly, best when a guest is featured on a given track. Even then, they’re nothing to fixate on. If it weren’t so grim, it would be laughable to hear domestic abuser Chris Brown sing obliviously entitled lines such as “Blaming me is so unfair.” Not even Young Thug can save “Spaceships,” yet another boring, ethereal track that sails by without any fanfare whatsoever. The featured artists on Pegasus seem to know the quality of the album they’re working on, and barely put any effort into the verses they present. On “Kid That Didd,” Future’s verse sounds like it was recorded on an iPhone 4s. These features are perfect for Pegasus; like Trippie Redd himself, they just cannot be brought to care about the project.
Many artists have found themselves succeeding with projects similar to Redd’s, but this is because they are often willing to push themselves and attempt new, complex musical ideas. This is, alas, not the case with Pegasus, a half-baked album that never should have been put in the oven in the first place. It rarely offends, but the bloated mediocrity bars it from even the esteemed halls of passable adequacy.