North London rapper and producer BAYLEY’s latest mellow hip-hop album release “The SunTapes, Vol. 2” is driven by swimming lo-fi beats making it musically feel like a relaxing dip in the pool on a warm sunset evening.
Very much working in the modern category of rap and hip-hop music and inspired by artists such as Mac Miller and Drake BAYLEY uses crystal clear mixing and clean production to create a perfectly polished sounding approach. The opening track “Round&Round” solidly sets the tone for the rest of the album with reoccurring collaborator Cassie Green making her first appearance. With the influence of artists like Dominic Fike or Kevin Abstract in his calming beats and hazy guitar chords that accompany them BAYLEY has a distinctive and consistent lo-fi hip-hop style throughout “The SunTapes, Vol. 2” that flows easily. There’s nothing messy about a single track on this album, it all flows sonically smoothly.
The repeated collaboration with fellow melodic trap soul artist Cassie Green on four tracks off “The SunTapes, Vol. 2” album serves BAYLEY’s sound exceedingly well. With their combined soulful R&B sound and Cassie’s heavenly vocals pairing with BAYLEY’s tranquil instrumentals these two are the dream team creating tracks so deliciously peaceful it feels as though they are lulling you into a dream themselves.
The opening track of the album “Round&Round” is a prime example of this. The closing track “Symbols” holds the exact same energy ending the album with a slow burn as it started immersing the listener in its assuasive soundscape.
Arguably the best two tracks on the album “DreamEasy” and “RunWay” see this duo sounding fiercer with BAYLEY’s lyrics jumping out the track above the instrumental as his beats pick up the pace. Combined with Cassie Greens melodic vocals giving the listener those moments of calm energy these tracks feel impeccably balanced with a gentle yet strong feel. The production on these songs is intricate and insightful and BAYLEY’s lyrics articulate eloquently and coherently over a more lucid melody. Other more energetic tracks off the album such as “Lanterns” don’t seem to stand up as well as the ones in which BAYLEY incorprets his melodic choruses into the mix.
As well as modern and lo-fi rap influences there’s a definite soul influence that can be heard on “The SunTapes, Vol. 2” particularly on tracks like “Autumn” and “Sleep”. On both these tracks BAYLEY unleashes his talent as a singer as well as a rapper and on “Autumn” particularly opts for a more soulful ballad sound than modern trap vibe. However, I have to say that I do think these tracks would be complimented more if BAYLEY would let go of the auto-tune so that his pure, untouched vocals could shine through more.
Although BAYLEY does well to pull from many different influences on “The SunTapes, Vol 2” and produces some skilfully put together melodies a lot of the tracks on this album sound a bit lack-lustre or overly familiar towards the end. Due to the album’s short run-time, the similarity of a lot of these songs, particularly the lack of variance in the guitar instrumentals, isn’t too much of an issue. In terms of BAYLEY’s vocals, less auto-tune to avoid the vocals sounding almost sterile and more expressiveness would serve BAYLEY well particularly on the more passionate tracks such as “GoodNews” or “Lanterns”. But, overall, “The SunTapes, Vol. 2” is an album showing off an artist of great potential.