Theophilus London Debuting Timez

Posted on July 19, 2011 by

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Went out to see Theophilus London play a show last night at the Troubadour in West Hollywood in honor of his freshman album Timez are Weird These Days, which just dropped today. I first blogged about London almost two years ago when This Charming Mixtape dropped. Since then, he’s mostly been building up his reputation in the fashion world (for example, as a model and designer for Cole Haan) and leaving everyone guessing about music. This is backwards from how most emcees have built up their brand (i.e. – Kanye West, Pharrell) but it looks like it might be working for him. Based on the show last night at the Troubadour I think his new stuff might be even better than the old, but I do think he might still be playing with how to mix that hip hop sound with new wave. He’s definitely got the performance part down, though, and dropped a couple sick freestyles at the show.

Despite the hipster following he has, Pitchfork doesn’t seem to like him very much. The critique is that the whole fashion bit is a distraction from the music, which is lacking. Despite my early optimism about London I’m starting to get a little skeptical as well. Certain tracks off the album which he’s been promoting heavily like “Girls Girls $” and “Last Name London” weren’t really doing it for me. On the other hand, he is proving he can do something with tracks like “Why Even Try” (the live version of which is at the top of this post) and “Love is Real” (although maybe the appeal here is just the incredible vocalist featured on the track).

London is definitely a fashion genius, but while I think he’s a good musician I’m not ready to call him a genius yet. Although, I’m also not ready to take that title off the table. Give Timez a listen and let us know what you think.