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“Candy” by Robert White

A clandestine vocal, a stirring beat, a glistening melody – in the new single “Candy,” hip-hop singer/songwriter Robert White produces a track more on the simplistic side than the mainstream is calling for at the moment, and from where I sit, his efforts result in what could be the most straightforward, tonally optimistic tunes to come from a rookie all year long. Rather than putting a lot of emphasis on a big, physical beat, “Candy” features finer lines separating its instrumental componentry, such as a distant harmony and slick verses that have as much in common with the retro pop standard as they do contemporary hip-hop trends. This is indeed an experimental look, but one that this greenhorn is wearing with pride. 

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The groove in this song is really strong, shaping the bottom-end as well as the lyrical narrative rather flawlessly (and independent on the synth parts at the top of the mix). There’s not as much room for the percussive entity to spill into the verse, but considering the tightly-wound arrangement of the instruments, I think this was a preferable formula for White to utilize anyway. For being a newcomer to the studio, his comfortability around a rather ambitious concept is striking. There’s never a moment in which he sounds like he’s in over his head, nor would it seem that he’s pursuing a melodic centerpiece that doesn’t suit the natural personality of his poetry as we would understand it without any musical setting at all. https://open.spotify.com/album/5GOKvJYJX80Fty11rh0TIT

The vocal that Robert White is putting down in this mix is an agent of pressure as much as it is melodic wonderment, nudging the beat forward. Minimalism has its place in the pop spectrum, but there’s something to be said about being efficient with elements of excess as well. Straddling the line between acceptable indulgence and barebones melodicism is no easy feat, even for the more experienced players making their way up the charts at the moment, so I’d say that what we’re bearing witness to in “Candy” is quite significant indeed. 

Robert White is entering the hip-hop scene at what could be the most competitive and creatively diverse eras in the history of the genre, but armed with his God-given gifts, he creates a display of grandiosity in “Candy” that demands a reaction out of even the most discriminating of critical ears. There’s a lot of melodic treasure to be uncovered in his sound, and based on what he’s presenting us with at such an early stage of his career, there isn’t anything to make me believe this won’t be the tip of the iceberg for his rise to fame. Only time will tell us for sure, but if there’s something to be learned about White from “Candy,” it’s that he’s a one-of-a-kind performer who isn’t gonna slow down anytime soon.

Mindy McCall

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