The groover versus the snoozer

MOVE columnist Kennedy Simone reviews new releases from rappers Raury and Curtiss King.

By Kennedy Simone | Oct. 21, 2015

Tags: Music Reviews

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Earlier this year, Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera felt that he was knowledgeable enough on the world of hip-hop to make a very loaded and generalized statement: “Hip-hop has done more damage to young African Americans than racism in recent years.” Google it and I guarantee your search results will be packed with stupidity.

Trailblazing African-American musician Raury’s debut album “All We Need” can invalidate Rivera’s entire statement with one verse. Fusing an array of genres, including folk, hip-hop and neo-soul, Raury repaints the entire face of hip-hop and what it means to be a rapper in today’s music age.

Having listened to Raury’s 2014 mixtape “Indigo Child” and becoming infatuated with his fresh sound, I trusted his consistency and decided to listen to his new release on shuffle. Landing first on “Revolution,” I was hypnotized by his overwhelmingly positive lyrics.

With the hook, “Lord save this burning Earth,” the track is a plea to God to save the world from the “mass pollution” that is dirty politics, police brutality and environmental destruction. Deep stuff, right? Raury acknowledged his subject matter by taking the time to comment on the song’s lyrics through popular lyric website Genius, saying, “I could (sic) gave you guys the bubblegum shit if I chose to. I could have made an album full of singles, but it’s deeper than that.”

Next came “Woodcrest Manor II.” A reflection on a childhood friendship turned recollection, the track is a groovy blend of hip-hop and folk with a touch of psychedelic influence. Listening to the song, it’s hard not to imagine Raury as the long lost hip-hop compadre of psych-rock band MGMT, but I won’t entertain you guys with that fantasy for too long. Raury’s unchallenged style deserves the attention of solo artistry and the power behind his “one-man-band” approach is undeniable.

All this talk of Raury almost made me forget this week’s second Record Radar runner Curtiss King. However, after listening to his recent release “Raging Waters,” I can definitely say that my forgetting King would be his own fault. To be honest, I don’t even want to discuss the album. But what’s Record Radar without two contestants? I’ll suffer in silence.

The first track I tuned in to was “Damn Homie (feat. Daylyt & Stevie Crooks).” Unlike Raury’s album, shuffle play didn’t lend me too much luck. A track featuring the irritatingly corny hook “Damn homie!”, the song felt like a 2015 grandfather’s approach to trap music. A weak and unoriginal diss track to King’s anonymous enemies, I’m sure that whoever King’s target may be remains epicly unbothered after listening to this.

My second “Raging Waters” listen was “I Apologize.” This song was actually a bit better. Pieced together with soul and feeling, the track takes on a more old-school “baby I did you wrong” feel but in the most ineffective way possible. King’s current stylistic take on hip-hop is way too overdone to ever produce something that draws in quality listeners who will actually listen to his lyrics.

It’s obvious that Raury dominated this week’s Record Radar and his title is well-earned. Listen to Raury and you won’t be able to legitimately compare his sound to any other artist across any genre right now. At only 19 years old, the young musician breezes through his album with enough wisdom and diverse influences that it’s hard to believe “All We Need” is his debut album. And Curtiss King? “Raging Waters” could barely move the water in my bathtub.

Bonus Play:

Song: Bad Habits Artist: THEY.

Newly signed to indie label Mind of A Genius Music Group, THEY. is the brand new alt-RnB project consisting of mysterious members Dante and Drew. With their new EP “Nü Religion” having recently dropped, Dante has described their unique sound to The FADER as “the soundtrack to not giving a fuck.” That attitude is exactly what makes “Bad Habits” such a banger. Featuring a hook slurred in Future Hendrix fashion that’s perfected to the point of unintelligibility, the track rides over a gently strummed guitar that doesn’t leave you prepared for the heated chorus with screams of “Bet you won’t forget it!” To top things off, THEY. has announced that “Nü Religion” is the leader of a three-part EP series. The duo has been on the mainstream music waves for barely a week and I’m already a fan. Do yourself a favor and jump on the bandwagon early, kids.

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