He might be all alone in the music video for his new single “u n i,” but there isn’t a second in the song in which Dici’s rap-driven harmonies with the guitar in the background aren’t as comforting as they are isolation-breaking. Reaching through the stereo with a voice that’s soft, smooth, but stern when it’s making a bold statement, Dici has control of the mood and the narrative in this song long before he ever sings a single word. In “u n i,” he becomes one with the instrumental passions that surround him in the arrangement, dashing away a fleeting minimalism trend that has become the antithesis of what his music stands for. Here, emotion is king, and he isn’t letting anything prevent him from expressing it to us.

The dynamic that exists between Dici and the guitar in this track is the greatest source of charm in “u n i,” and it’s also what kick-starts the pulse of the lyrics and makes the verses feel like snippets from an internal dialogue. There’s an introspective element here that is so brooding and immersive, but never nocturnal to the point of sounding neo-gothic in any way. That’s something other players in melodic rap are struggling to cement for themselves, but clearly not this artist – in all honesty, I think his aesthetics and his willingness to push himself and the music they would form in the most DIY of situations is really what makes him sound like an old school rockstar.

I don’t know about anyone else who heard “u n i” ahead of its official release, but I found the harmonies in this song to be some of the cleanest this singer has ever constructed, especially inside of a track that has a galloping energy between choruses. It made me interested in hearing more balladry from Dici in the future, as there really hasn’t been a moment in which he’s slowed down to show us how far he can stretch his melodicism without needing a boisterous beat to back him up. This single says he has it in him to get rather outrageous with his ambitions, but as someone who has been following his work for a little while now, I could have told you that back when “Five Rings” dropped.

Dici is presenting himself with a more cerebral identity than some critics were originally thinking he could, but this is the biggest factor in what makes “u n i” feel like another artistic breakthrough for his career. The pressure to prove himself is long over, and now he can quite literally be himself in the studio without having to hold back or wonder if an outside-of-the-box concept is going to be too much for his young discography to withstand. He’s a tradesman who is refining himself on the regular, but in complementing reflectiveness with a resilient sense of optimism in his lyrics, he’s becoming more than just a good rapper – Dici is on his way to being a well-respected poet.

Sebastian Cole