The world of country trap finds yet another advocate in BRELAND, the singer-rapper whose viral song “My Truck” positioned him as a rising star. Where his contemporary Lil Nas X used his debut to display his versatility, BRELAND melds the aesthetic and lyrical sensibilities of the genres in a manner that reflects a genuine appreciation for both; it's down-home but it's cosmopolitan, playful but also clever. When he takes props of country culture (horses, big trucks, do-si-dos) and places them against a trap backdrop (thundering 808s, racing hi-hats) or inverts the formula with gratuitous bravado atop guitar strums, it highlights the latent shared qualities of each. The fusion is akin to “drinking Bud Light from a champagne glass,” as he quips on the amiable “Hot Sauce.”
It doesn't hurt that he's also picked up cosigns from a handful of country music's heavy hitters, including Sam Hunt, who joins the remix of “My Truck,” and Chase Rice, who offers a pleasant vocal contrast alongside Lauren Alaina on the poppier “In the Woulds.” Make no mistake, though: BRELAND is no more a one-trick pony than he is a gimmick. On songs like “Beautiful Lies” and “WiFi,” he drops the drawl to reveal a singing voice that slots comfortably within the modern R&B and pop landscapes; musing about the internet—as a metaphor for connection, of course—almost sounds like true romance when he slides into his falsetto. BRELAND advances the case that genre essentialism remains only for those nostalgics who are unwilling to embrace the spirited fluidity of the present.