Fusing elements of G-funk, classic hip-hop and a modern strain of R&B swagger, Seattle’s Ronnue turns in one of the most evocative underground urban pop albums of the year in his latest release, the aptly titled Introduction 2 Retro-Funk, which is out now everywhere that independent music is sold and streamed. Songs like “Be Your Freak” and “In Love” see Ronnue divvying out some of the smoothest jams that the Emerald City has seen in well over a quarter-century, while other tracks like “Why (feat. Figuz),” star single “Something About U (The Retro-Funk Mix)” and the mischievous “Give in 2 Me” are bold experimentations; scattered shades of a new sound that belongs to this artist and this artist alone. In a nutshell, this is mature, melodic hip-hop for audiences that have become disinterested with the predictable pop stylizations of the mainstream.
“Do It (The Remix)” and “You Tried Me (The Man’s Anthem)” are boasting some very vintage vibes right out of the gate, but they never devolve into something that is wholly too retro to make sense in 2019. For the most part, Ronnue makes a point to balance out all of the old fashioned tones and textures in his music with a new school production style that, to be frank, gives his music a tremendous amount of physicality, no matter what volume we happen to be listening at. “I’m a Lesbian” has a hollow vocal track surrounded by one of the thickest, most uncompromisingly low-end basslines that I’ve reviewed in the last six months, but rather than sounding avant-garde, this uniquely mixed piece is probably one of the most listenable songs on the LP because of its beefiness.
Ronnue is expressing just as much to us on the instrumental side of “17 Days (The Hood Mix)” and the Rick James-inspired “If We Stay 2gether” as he is with the microphone, and that’s not exactly commonplace among his peers on the West Coast hip-hop circuit. It’s obvious that he’s got a deeper emotional investment in his material than a lot of artists in his position do, and in the toned swing of songs like “Be Your Freak,” his lyrical content gets some much-needed context from the rigidity of the bass, and more significantly, the glimmer of the subtle melodies in the backdrop. This is a fully engaging album, and that’s putting it mildly.
From start to finish, Ronnue’s most recent release is a tough record to put down. There’s nothing startlingly revolutionary about the construction of Introduction 2 Retro-Funk, but at the same time, I would be lying if I said that I’d heard another album quite like it this year. There’s a lot to take-in inside of the twelve tracks included here, but one thing that listeners needn’t worry about before picking up this LP is running into yet another overcomplicated urban pop record lacking the heart and cohesiveness that made the genre as appealing as it once was. Ronnue isn’t wasting our time with bells and whistles on Introduction 2 Retro-Funk; contrarily, he’s packaged a record that is 100% meat and potatoes funk in an era desperate for something devoid of plasticity.
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