“I work like this shit is a privilege,” Taylor says on the intro to Restoration of an American Idol, his follow-up to his debut studio album Broad Shoulders released in December of 2015. It’s a line that gets the obvious out of the way right off the bat: he only has this attention because he’s Chance the Rapper’s younger brother, but he’s working with that privilege to go and make a name for himself. “My shoulders got broader, my music got smarter,” he raps, and it’s true. Even though he’s only twenty-one, his value has enhanced massively since Broad Shoulders.
Vocally, he’s a very monotone rapper, most probably due to the amount of cigarettes he smokes, but he’s also a very personal rapper. While I can gather the sentiment from the music, lyrics, and tone, mostly I can’t identify with him as well as someone with universal yet personal subject matter like his older brother. Tracks like “Roof Gone” and “Favorite Colors” have a certain Taylor Bennett feel to them, which I enjoy hearing a rapper come into their own, but I’m still waiting for the rapper’s real big hit. That’s not to say that Restoration isn’t a great mixtape, but that it’s clear that Taylor still needs work as a rapper.
The production on this record really stands out however, especially the choruses which helps lift up Taylor no matter what he might say on top, but still, his reverie-like songs, such as “Roof Gone” or “Nobody Tell a Name,” really have the production holding up his somberly pensive tone. Subject matter wise, it feels very similar to Chance’s 10 Day, his first mixtape, but it was also a tape that showed Chance coming into his own early in his career. It looks promising for Taylor’s future however, since at just three years behind his older brother, if Taylor can pull off Restoration now, just image what he could do at Chance’s age. The Bennett brothers could run hip-hop together in five years.