Bryson Tiller writes desperate, pleading R&B songs with confidence. His 2015 debut, Trapsoul, begins with Tiller announcing that he's not done (meaning he's singing to an ex, or someone he's pursued before—it changes from song to song), that he's different (not just from other guys but from previous iterations of himself as well), and that he "love[s] you." It's a concise intro, encapsulating all of the album's emotions and thematic variations in a little over 90 seconds.
Unlike, say, Rick James on "Fire & Desire," the 24-year-old Louisville native doesn't portray himself as a reformed player, newly worth of love because he's ready to settle down and put his womanizing ways away. Instead, the figure Tiller embodies on this album is, as he describes it himself in song commentary for Genius, a "nobody" who has since come up and is trying on a weird sort of self-conviction, the kind that results in dudes who sometimes have a hard time listening, who sometimes seem to be unable to take rejection at face value. He can't help but compare himself to other men, forever triangulating his shot in relation to the maneuvering of another guy. ("Don't," his signature song, is more of a pitch meeting than a love ballad: "Girl, said he keeps on playin games/And his lovin ain't the same...If you were mine you would not get the same/If you were mine you would top everything.")
He also sings to his ex constantly. "Right My Wrongs" and "Exchange"—his best songs—walk a fine line between vulnerable soul-searching and genuinely creepy behavior. He shakily climbs to the top of his boyish register, concluding the first verse of "Exchange" singing, "Everywhere she go they playing my songs/That's why I say the things that I say." Then he slows his delivery, to emphasize his point: "That way I know you can't ignore me."
So, Bryson Tiller and late-night text fumbling with exes go together like dad caps and bomber jackets. And with his new album, True to Self, on the way, he's going to be influencing hearts and minds throughout 2017. But Complex strongly advises that you not text these lyrics to your ex. If you do, here's what may happen.