NYCS First Impression: BRELAND Self-Titled EP
Late in 2018, Lil Nas X’s now Grammy-award winning song “Old Town Road” blew up on TikTok, giving us an introduction to what ‘country trap’ is. A year and a half later, a new artist in the same genre, BRELAND, breaks into the scene with his song, “My Truck.” Soon thereafter, the 24-year-old Atlanta-based rapper dropped his debut extended play today (May 22) under a major record label.
Born in Burlington, New Jersey, Daniel Breland grew up listening to all types of music from The Beatles, to Prince, to Rascal Flatts. While attending Georgetown University, BRELAND knocked on every possible music-industry door and eventually broke through as a songwriter, landing several high-profile cuts with rappers such as Elhae and YK Osiris. As much as he enjoyed writing for other artists, his dream was to put out his own music. Like “Old Town Road,” “My Truck” went viral on TikTok and due to its popularity, fans urged him to drop the track on Spotify. It found tremendous success, including hitting #1 on Spotify’s Global Viral 50 and US Viral 50 charts. On April 24th, country mega-star, Sam Hunt joined the “My Truck” remix, and the song debuted on the Billboard Hot Country Charts at #46.
“My Truck” is a fun and simple song, in which BRELAND and Hunt just describe how much their truck means to them. However, this EP allows him to go deeper and tell us more about his personal life. “Wifi” discusses a complex relationship, while “Beautiful Lies” has all the vibes of a Post Malone track. In this song, he sings about his upbringing and all the grinding he had to go through to make it to where he is today. “I’ve been going in, going hard for the longest. Worked a couple jobs, did it all for my mama. People wanna talk but they can’t walk a mile in my shoes,” he sings in the chorus. “They ain’t know that hate is only love in disguise. So I had to thank you for the beautiful lies.”
Our favorite track, “In the Woulds” features Chase Rice and Lauren Alaina. Although it has a lot of hip-hop influence, it also contains multiple elements of country music, with an acoustic guitar serving as the lead instrument in the chorus, backed by a banjo and a strong bass beat. ‘Woulds’ is purposely misspelled as the singer says he is “lost in the woulds” with this girl, meaning he would do anything to be with her. BRELAND sings the chorus and Rice and Alaina take the first and second verses, respectively.
“Horseride” and “Hot Sauce” are two more fun, upbeat songs to go along with “My Truck” that lean a little more into a hip-hop sound. In the latter, BRELAND says his girl is like hot sauce, as everything is better with her.
If you are one who likes to categorize music by genre, good luck with this one. BRELAND took a sound that we have only heard in one song before and created an entire EP out of it, giving us a better understanding of the genre and sound. Although we doubt this will become the new ‘norm’ in country music, there is definitely a place for it. All these cross-genre collaborations are helping country music become more mainstream in regions where they have not been popular in the past, like here in the urban, northeast. For example, Morgan Wallen credits “Heartless”, his record with American DJ, Diplo as one of the causes of his fast-growing substantial fame. Diplo fans hear the song, then go check out Wallen as a result, and vice versa. In this case, after hearing “My Truck,” a fan of rap might go check out Sam Hunt, then venture off into other pop-country acts such as Thomas Rhett, which could lead to him/her listening to Jon Pardi, and soon enough, he/she could be adding George Strait and Waylon Jennings to their playlist.
Genre-defining aside, BRELAND showcased his true creativity with his fun and lively lyrics and sounds. If country trap is going to take off, Lil Nas X will be known as the one started it, but BRELAND will be credited as the one who truly moved it forward.
- In the Woulds
- Beautiful Lie
- My Truck [Remix]
Keep up with BRELAND by following him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
BRELAND’s self-titled EP is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.
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