Boasting influences as diverse as Jay-Z, TI, and Young Jeezy, Virginian S-Trill is set to make waves in the hip hop community with the release of his latest single “On the Phone”. S-Trill excelled at basketball in his early days, but the pull of music and self-expression proved too strong for this talented young writer and performer. His musical dreams burn with ambition and he shows with “On the Phone” and other recent cuts that he’s capable of transforming his influences into something uniquely his own rather than just coming off as a talented mimic. His single swaggers with real authenticity and intelligence rather than just reveling in a series of poses without any real substance. Rest assured, S-Trill is a thoroughly modern performer with modern style, but there’s real lyrical and musical muscle powering what he does. It’s evident in each second of “On the Phone” and never sounds like an aspiring artist straining for effect. It sounds relaxed, confident, and as real as a right cross to the jaw.
It’s a performer driven style and, evaluated by that metric, “On the Phone” is a resounding success seconds after S-Trill enters the performance. His vocal delivery has sure footed confidence you cannot teach and seems like a natural fit with the musical arrangement rather than something imposed over the top and self-consciously shaped to work with the song. His writing is remarkably mature, as well, and the song is littered with strongly percussive words that his vocals are able to make great use of. There’s a great balance in the song between his vocals and the musical backing while the addition of a second vocal track, offering up straight singing, plays off very nicely against S-Trill’s quiet swagger.
He keeps things condensed and focused. It never runs a second too long and avoids any self-indulgent sideshows that we might hear from S-Trill’s less disciplined peers. He will definitely surprise many listeners with some of the musical choices he makes throughout the track – it isn’t, like much fare in this vein, driven alone by synths and bass, but instead makes use of melodic touches from electric piano and even some string instruments. His use of synths varies throughout the song and never finds one approach but, instead, a handful of sounds that come off with memorable effect. The electric piano brings a lot to the song and he shows a real ear for using it wisely throughout the entire performance. “On the Phone” is one of the stronger hip hop singles to come out in 2017 and S-Trill’s obvious talents gets the track over with both longtime fans of the style and any novices who might encounter this track. S-Trill’s “On the Phone” shows he’s a solid performer in the style yet packed with surprises that you may not count on coming your way.