Review Summary: dream rap
Despite the fact that Legendary Member
is Thaiboy Digital’s first solo album, it’s hardly his first exhibition. His work in Drain Gang and with other artists on the YEAR001 imprint has shown that this Khon Kaen native has a knack for adaptive flows and sweet vocal melodies. Be it his collaborative work on D&G
and Trash Island
or his solo mixtapes, including the fantastic ส (Tiger)
, Khazitin Bonleuge has become a fan favorite in Drain Gang, even before the release of his debut record. Hyped up with catchy singles like “IDGAF” and “Nervous,” Legendary Member
was set to be a landmark release for YEAR001; a record to live up to projects like Icedancer
, and the other modern classics from the imprint.
To say that Thaiboy lived up to the 2+ years of hype is to severely underestimate this sleeper hit. The man asserts a dominance that’s unique for such dreamy hip hop. Even with features, guest writing credits, guest producers, and a (notably superb) beat work from Yung Gud and woesome, Thaiboy isn’t lost among his collaborators - not something many rappers can say when releasing a record with this much outside influence. Instead of using his peers as a crutch, he plays off their work with a vibed out charisma that flows gracefully. His performances on “Kit Kat” and “Kiss Me Through The Scope,” for example, are reliant on the energy play between Thaiboy and the steady, sugary beats. There’s a subtle power in how Thaiboy is able to use momentum from the backing tracks to control the feel of the song as a whole.
Thaiboy Digital’s control is what really allows him to shine here, he’s able to steer and contort the songs of Legendary Member
in a way that suits his vision. Much like a sunshower, his work here is bright and refreshing in a way that lets him go toe to toe with his contemporaries. At the same time, much of Legendary Member
resides in the clouds - airy, yet hazy and mysterious. This isn’t to say that Thaiboy sounds soft or timid, “Nervous” is proof against that, but it’s to say that there’s a tangible atmosphere here that’s similar to the album cover. Rainbows, unicorns, money machines - all residing in his palace of white mist. It’s a bit of a goofy cover, all things considered, but it makes sense for the record; an equally sky-blue affair that flows like a lucid dream.
That ethereal vibe is essential to the success of Thaiboy’s. He’s one of the most confident rappers on YEAR001 and his connections/collaborators let him flourish this dreamy vision. It’s much less of a sad dream and far from a dark nightmare; the more I think about it, the more I like that sunshower analogy. It’s the cleansing downfall of rain with the hope and power of the sun - featuring clouds that are where Thaiboy Digital resides. He flies through the lucid dream that is his life, flexing his ability to do anything. In that respect, Legendary Member
is a powerful dream, the kind of which us normal folk wish we could live in.