For over a decade, Whitney Peyton has been releasing a steady stream of music while performing and collaborating with prominent artists like Big K.R.I.T, Tech N9ne, and Da Mafia 6ix. Though she’s been prolific and has crisscrossed the country on tours, the Philadelphia artist has yet to achieve any mainstream recognition. On Iridescent, her first release since 2016’s Firecracker, Peyton tries to pander to popular trends and muster a hit. The result is mall pop rap that lacks originality.
Iridescent starts off with “Do It Again,” a snazzy track featuring her longtime collaborator R.A. the Rugged Man and double-timed bars from Rittz. Rapping over an ominous beat, she indulges her party-girl persona and cranks up the silliness with lines about stealing a piñata and then filling it with vodka. There’s nothing with wrong being ridiculous and outrageous. But Peyton’s execution makes the track verge on self-parody.
Following the opening track, Peyton tries to get more personal with “Love You The Right Way.” Though it’s commendable that she’s trying to add more depth to her image, this track also highlights some of her worst lyricism. she aims for genuine romance with the cornball line, “when I am with you, I feel like I won the lottery.”
Much of Iridescent is composed of party music or aggressive flexes of bravado. Despite being only ten tracks, many ideas are recycled and repeated. “Where Have You Been?”, “Bounce,” and “Trippin” are all interchangeable. Peyton calls upon a long roster of guests to insert some much-needed energy. Unfortunately, most of them give scattered, unfocused performances. The pop song “IDK” has some bizarre sing-rapping courtesy of Cryptic Wisdom. However, Mega Ran spits a few good bars on the mid-tempo track “Summer.” With solid production and a palatable verse, “Summer” is easily the project’s highlight.
Peyton takes a stab at eclecticism and plays with different genres. But even when she’s rapping well, her songs lack polish. The rock anthem “Figured It Out” has a hook that sounds like it was plucked from any song blasting at Hot Topic. The canned pop-rock chorus overshadows the artist’s fairly decent verses, making the entire track a missed opportunity.
On the album closer “Flip Side,” featuring Passionate MC, Peyton doubles down on her outsider mentality. After complaining how critics focus on her pink hair, she raps, “Who cares what I look like? Who cares what your friends think?” There’s something commendable about having the attitude of a defiant rock-star. With some more craft and originality, Peyton could also have some actual hits.