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Album Reviews

Rejjie Snow - Dear Annie

Rejjie Snow – Dear Annie

We’ve been waiting a very long time for a debut LP from Dublin rapper Rejjie Snow. Of course, none of us have been waiting as long as the man himself. “Finally. My first album.16th February. Thanks for waiting on me. Love y’all” he stated on the announcement of Dear Annie, his 20-track opus that’s been five years in the waiting, and it pleases me so much to state: it was worth every single second. A mixture of hip-hop, r’n’b and jazz, it’s an incredibly deep album full of intelligent lyrics, astonishing beats and postmodern album concepts.

It’s also an example of a dynamic shift in Snow’s musical output. When he first turned up with Rejovich, he was simply an out-and-out rapper, over simple beats. Now, working with some of the best collaborators around, Dear Annie is an exploration of a myriad of voices, genres and delivery styles. Describing the record, Snow declared his, "Album has lots of different feelings: I wanted it to feel like you’re slowing dying and losing your mind throughout," and it certainly brings out contrasting and distinct perceptions. Take ‘The Rain’, for example, where Snow establishes his off-kilter delivery style over a jazz track, while ‘23’ has all the melodious up-tempo feeling of a IAMDBB or Anderson .Paak track.

Snow holds a very interesting place in hip-hop right now. Half 90s gangster rap bravado, constantly bigging himself up with lyrics such as, Best rapper to fuckin’ live” from ‘Desole’, mixed with the melodic, self deprecation of the new wave of rap. He’s certainly an artist that wears his heart on his sleeve, and Dear Annie is all the more powerful for it. There’s a fragility to Snow, and a contemplation, that is endearing and deeply personal. On ‘Rainbows’ he raps about his death with: "When I'm buried in the ground I'll be laughing in my grave/Shaking hand with god but they say he don't exist.", while the entire record feels introspective and pensive. The record itself opens with a love letter of sorts to Snow’s fictional character creation, Annie. ‘Hello’ begins with: “Life is beautiful, Dear Annie”, which is a captivating entrance into the album, instantly giving it a strong sense of narrative, and indeed, one of the strongest aspects to Dear Annie, is its traditional, Aristotelian structure.

Its most impressive facet, though, stripping away from its monumental depth, is just how many bangers it’s littered with. One of the best songs on the album, and the lead single, is ‘Egyptian Luvr’. Produced by blossoming maestro Kaytranada and featuring rapper Aminé and singer Dana Williams, it’s a steamy boogie, secured by the contemplation of a failing and dysfunctional relationship. Kaytranada is the important player here, of course, infusing the beats with funk and house beats, along with honeyed synths and a sparkling bassline. Likewise, ‘The Ends’, produced by Yellow Days, is Snow at his best. Expertly delivered bars, with even better timing, united with a moody, sulky beat that gives the song a prodigious atmosphere.

On the surface it’s an excellent record with an immense amount of re-listenability, with at least ten songs worthy of putting in a party playlist. Look a little deeper, though, and it’s essentially an expedition into the mind of Snow and an odyssey into the wisdom and acumen of his brain. Spliced with radio segments where Rejjie introduces certain songs in his delicious Irish accent, it really comes together as a story, a concept and a complete project that showcases Rejjie Snow’s vision. Of course, to top it all off, there’s then his voice which, with his wicked sense for timed delivery, is profound and versatile. Equally perfect for floating through beats with ease; crooning like a 50s superstar; or grooving to soul notes like 70s funk heroes. The record is a soaring cinematic delight, with vivid, visual and pictorial detail.

Liam McMillen

Website: rejjiesnow.com
Facebook: facebook.com/RejjieSnow
Twitter: twitter.com/rejjiesnow

 

 


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