The rhythm that finds its way to the forefront of the mix in Ronnie’s “Be Your Freak,” the second single from his latest release – the lusty Introduction 2 Retro-Funk – is as erotic as the racing heartbeats of two lovers sharing a tender embrace is, but it’s what listeners can expect to find in pretty much every song on this incredible new album. The grooves are as big as Ronnue can make them in this record, but there’s a lot more to the music in this tracklist than its sharp club bounce alone. There’s a lot of might in these melodies, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Ronnue’s lyrical flow in “Something About U (The Retro-Funk Mix),” “I’m a Lesbian,” “You Tried Me (The Man’s Anthem)” and “If We Stayed 2gether” is so smooth that it’s hard to believe that he’s only been in the game for a few years now. He sounds so experienced here, so at ease with his surroundings, and compared to his first couple of releases, his attack is substantially more fluid than it ever was before. This guy shouldn’t be referred to as a newcomer on the national stage, but rather a seasoned vet of his own legendary local scene.
“In Love,” “Be Your Freak” and “Give in 2 Me” are straight R&B crossover tunes, and I notice how during the buildup to the chorus in “In Love,” Ronnue employs a soft, chillingly conservative vocal style that isn’t quite like anything I’ve heard him dole out in the past. When he sings, there’s this stone cold emotion his vocal that I can’t get enough of; it’s vulnerability without any barriers, and yet we never feel as though he’s being self-indulgent in any of his lyrical commentary. If he hasn’t already considered it, Ronnue definitely needs to think about cutting this track as a single, as it’s perhaps his most moving work on the Introduction 2 Retro-Funk LP.
“Do It (The Remix),” “Why” and “17 Days (The Hood Mix)” are almost too brutish for mainstream hip-hop consumers, but from where I sit, urban pop could really use more melodic muscle of this sort this summer. Other than Ronnue, I can’t think of a rapper, R&B singer of funk experimentalist like himself that is putting as much emphasis on rocking your speakers this month. “Do It (The Remix)” might be riddled with machismo, but it’s the sort of chest-beating intensity that audiences have been craving now more than ever.
Seattle has been struggling to stay a contender in respect to its relationship with the American punk rock and singer/songwriter communities, but its often under-promoted hip-hop underground is providing us with some really awesome music this season in the form of Ronnue’s Introduction 2 Retro-Funk. He’s representing his hometown quite well in this record, and I think that his prowess rubbing off on his peers in the Northwest would do wonders for his scene in 2019. This is one artist that fans and unfamiliar listeners alike are going to want to keep an eye on; Ronnue is going places, and he isn’t waiting for the establishment’s approval to do so.
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