Fans have waited patiently for the Irish rapper’s debut album, and this 20 track exploration of love and loss exceeds expectation.
Dublin born Rejjie Snow, real name Alexander Anyaegbunam is somewhat of an oddity within the rap world. Despite his recent move to Brooklyn, his irish roots have always remained at the forefront of both his character and his music, and these clashing cultures are brought to the forefront throughout Dear Annie. The cover art of a stereotypical irish girl is contrasted with Snow’s embodiment of the classic smooth talking rapper. This is unsurprising considering his label mates at 300 Entertainment include the likes of Young Thug and Migos, however if you listen past the ‘shawtys’ and ‘sneakers’, you can still catch a fleeting Irish lilt between the americanised slang. On a similar note, the introduction of South London’s Jesse James Solomon’s verse stands out as a stroke of genius during The Ends as it provides us with another element that shapes the landscape of modern hip hop.
It is unusual for such a long album to be so captivating from start to finish, yet Snow’s effortless storytelling transports you through the nervous fresh love of Rainbows, into the heartache and regret of Mon Amour and Room 27. Swaggering 80s synth riffs make Bye Polar a groovy highlight, yet psych-hop album finale, Greatness, leaves you yearning for more answers and evermore tracks.
It is rare that a debut can take influence from so many genres and cultures while still remaining entirely unique within its field. In a genre where the mainstream is becoming polluted with recycled generic beats and throwaway lyrics that are more like advertising deals, this debut is an exercise in authenticity and technical prowess. Introspective, melancholic lyrics similar to those of Tyler, The Creator paired with soulful vocals and shimmering dreams of melody – Dear Annie is surely the soundtrack to this summer’s comedowns and morning afters.
The overall effect is one of captivation and complete immersion in a roller coaster love affair, with each track its own diary entry, while not overlooking the charmingly unrehearsed interludes that punctuate the story.
The album may be dedicated to Annie, but this is the wonderful world of Rejjie Snow, and we just live in it.
Words: Briony Warsop