Hip-hop has reached an interesting apex in the late 2010s and, at this point, those who wish to set themselves apart in the genre have no choice but to look towards the experimental over the familiar when constructing new material. Ronnue, a funk singer with hip-hop undertones in his music, has got this concept down better than most, and he gives up some of the sweetest melodies of his career so far in the new album Introduction 2 Retro-Funk, his second self-released LP. Every song on Introduction 2 Retro-Funk is an experimentation, a middle finger to the establishment, and more than anything else, a tribute to the individuality that Ronnue celebrates with every piece of music that he produces. There aren’t a lot of guest appearances on this record, any flamboyant breaks between songs, extended periods where the star is absent from the verse nor any of the overstated themes that we’ve already heard at least a thousand different ways in the last month alone. This record is defiantly retro, sublimely in love with its own grandeur, and really one of the most unabashedly addictive albums I’ve heard of a Seattle origin in the last half-decade.
The first half of Introduction 2 Retro-Funk has a little more urgency to it, with songs like “If We Stayed 2gether,” new single “Be Your Freak” and “In Love” setting the table for the mean grind of the second, which is dominated by heavier numbers like “Do It (The Remix),” “I’m a Lesbian” and the forceful “Give in 2 Me.” The narratives are almost anthological, spanning everything from lust and love to self-awareness, confidence and honest introspection, and there are even a few occasions on which the lyrics sound more like excerpts from a diary than they do urban pop verses. He’s definitely worked out some of the harsher dimensions in his sound over the last two years, and if he’s able to stay as cool, calm and collected on stage as he does in this LP, then I don’t know that there will be a rapper in the Seattle-Tacoma metro area capable of giving him the kind of challenge that he deserves at this stage of his career.
If you love pure, superfluities-free melodic rap and funk, Ronnue’s Introduction 2 Retro-Funk is the record to get your hands on this summer, bar none. For an artist who is still a rather fresh face to most of the country’s discriminating hip-hop fans, Ronnue isn’t acting like a young talent in this album – he’s confident, unflinching and ready to take on the world every time he steps up to the microphone on Introduction 2 Retro-Funk, and the same simply cannot be said about his rivals in and around the 206 this year. It is almost impossible for most people to get through a song like “Why” without busting a move to the mammoth grooves that it boasts, and if any of this tracklist gets into steady rotation on your FM dial this July, there won’t be any stopping the gravy train that this artist is clearly in full-control over.
by Bethany Page
The music of RONNUE has been heard all over the world due to the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Records. Learn more – https://musikandfilm.com