As far as the metrics behind who could be the next rising popstar out of the underground are concerned, there are seldom artists better equipped to take that role than Riley the Musician. Capitalizing off of his equally busy and successful 2019 – which saw the release of his debut full-length album Art Is Dead – the pop phenom is ending the year off by teasing towards his next chapter with the recently released Hollywoodland mixtape. 

Making himself known for the off-the-wall and genre-bending experimental production choices under the lens of a DIY ethos throughout his young career, the Missouri talent came through with this teaser mixtape that encompasses both what has led up to his current status as an artist and what is to come in 2020.

The mixtape itself takes a less-specific and more sporadic route than something like his full-length debut, but his overall talent is still showcased at just as high a degree due to the sheer amount of evolution between these two projects — even over the short amount of time between their respective releases. 

Everything that made Art Is Dead so effective and chocked full of quality by itself is present within this release as well, only the amount of potential that Riley possesses is delivered with even more passion and promise. Each and every track in this admittedly brief offering serves its purpose adequately; that purpose is simply to let the world know what is to come next year. 

The overall level of experimentation, new ideas, and daring efforts are multiplied exponentially on this release, and Riley wastes no time flaunting these aspects in each track. Songs like “Tina Fey” and “Princess Diana” are shining examples of the nuanced angles that he is taking something as tried and true as the pop genre in, with both tracks seeing themselves equal parts charmingly catchy and daringly off-putting (in the best way possible). 

Some tracks such as “Kill Bill” and “Caviar Freestyle” may seem shrouded in their abrupt and scattered nature, but they play into the only narrative that this project is trying to present perfectly — a narrative that only paints a picture of what is next moving forward. While these tracks are as brief as can be, the work so well because of the fact they represent only a snapshot of a much bigger and increasingly-developed world that only Riley himself can fully picture right now.

For more than a glimpse of that world, we look just as this project does to 2020, a year that will likely define more than any other the artististry of Riley the Musician. 

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