Music, Pop Culture, Style/ Beauty

“Wicky” by Ren.y.c

Rap has developed a lot since its earliest releases, but in the past fifteen years, it’s come into a new creative era that perhaps no one, not even veteran followers of the genre, could have seen coming. At the forefront of this new chapter in the history books, we find a generation of indie players who aren’t particularly interested in what the status quo thinks about their ambitions; among them is a rapper named Ren.y.c who has been turning out some of the more intriguing listens you’ll hear in her scene over the past few years.

Her latest single, titled “Wicky,” is proof that modern hip-hop is about the substance of songcraft as much as it is a storyteller and the poetic license of their narrative, and to me, it’s one of her scene’s best releases yet.

The beat here is supremely experimental, flexing muscle in the style of a drill number while steering clear of the indulgent frills so many of the subgenre’s most provocative talents have been plagued with lately. It’s almost as though Ren.y.c is looking to reimagine the cloud sound so many of her peers have been operating off of but with a distinctly crisp approach to percussive presence. The bass is buried by the vocal to such a point that we don’t ever experience its tonality without hearing the drum element toppling everything except Ren.y.c herself. It’s abrasive and intentionally jarring, which is very refreshing beside the cleaner-cut sounds of an increasingly daft mainstream market.

Cosmetics aside, I love the grit of the lyrical delivery and would even say it’s reason enough to pick up “Wicky” this month. Ren.y.c has a very relaxed attitude when it comes to being urgent with her words, and although she spits a ton of verses at us with adrenaline behind her every utterance in this track, she never sounds like she’s rushing or forcing a point. She’s too skillful with her lyrics to get sloppy, and without having to lean on the features provided by recording software she still finds a way of creating a seamlessness in this mix that is near-live quality.

That’s half the battle for producers and artists across the spectrum, let alone in a genre as competitive and brimming with talented individuals and crews the same as hip-hop is.

If you appreciate rap’s technical players and the craft they cultivate when left to develop at their own pace, Ren.y.c and her new single “Wicky” is a solid pick in 2024. “Wicky” doesn’t lack in virtuosic vocal technique, but I would also say it isn’t completely defined by the throttling punch of its leading voice, either. There’s discipline in the bones of this composition and, more importantly, a dedicated approach from Ren.y.c that tells me she’s more invested in her music than a lot of the other much-hyped rappers coming out of the woodwork this season have been. We’ll see what she’s able to continue doing over the next few years, but right now, I think she’s one of the more important artists worth keeping an eye on in the underground.

Troy Johnstone

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