If you haven’t already heard, there’s a hot new maverick talent on the Seattle scene right now, and he’s not a rock musician or a jaded spoken word artist. He’s modern funk poet Ronnue, a singer, songwriter and producer whose new single “Something About U (The Retro-Funk Mix)” and its B-side mix (II) featuring Magnetik is taking the underground by storm at the moment. After catching fire on the European indie charts and capturing the attention of the local press, Ronnue set out on an odyssey to refine his style and evolve his palate as a composer and performer. He returns now at the top of his game and with the best music he’s hammered out in-studio yet.
The tempo that drives “Something About U” is pretty urgent for how understated the rest of the song is, and it’s restrained essentially by the calm lyrical delivery of Ronnue himself. Where the drums want to take this track and run away with its lush grooves, Ronnue is determined to slow the energy down and stretch out this cathartic vibe for all its worth. As a result, his streamlined shift in the chorus is all the more powerful and stirring, which is significant since it already represents the biggest release of tension in the single.
From the jump it’s clear that melody trumps everything else for Ronnue when it comes down to developing a track in the studio, as “Something About U” is basically built around a simple but amplified one, and not the sterling harmonies that frame its grandeur. The singing is decadent to put it mildly, even joyously indulgent, but I don’t get the feeling that Ronnue was trying to make it intentionally over the top (which, to be clear, it certainly isn’t). This is larger than life funk, but it’s tapered just enough to fit in with these minimalist-inspired singles we’re hearing in contemporary pop right now.
As always, Ronnue doesn’t cut any corners in this latest release, especially when it comes to lyrical content. In “Something About U (The Retro-Funk Mix II),” Magnetik’s contribution doesn’t overshadow the original prowess of the verses; if anything, it makes them a little more evocative and stylish. You know you’re onto something good, regardless of what genre of music you’re making, when you can separate words from music and still be legit impressed by both sides of a song equally – which is exactly the case here, no matter which version of this single you’re spinning.
“Something About U” is a robust number from a talented young artist who has proven repeatedly that he’s a force to be reckoned with both in and out of the studio, and personally I think that this has the potential to be the release that finally nabs him the mainstream attention he’s been seeking. This business is as crazy as ever in 2019, and to not only make a living but rise through the ranks, you’ve got to have something that isn’t just original, it’s special. Ronnue is still a relatively fresh face on the national spectrum, but it’s already not worth debating whether or not he’s onto something good with this unique, endearing strain of funk that he’s made his own.