First Listen Album Review: Dear Annie x Rejjie Snow
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Dear Annie.
A wonderful world it is indeed. Friday 16th of February 2018 saw the release of Irish rapper, Rejjie Snow’s debut studio album: Dear Annie. Twenty tracks with a variety of feelings poured into each one, broken up by skits between a reminiscent Rejjie and a radio host.
The album starts out with a church-like vibe on the song Hello, the words “black is beautiful” are repeated throughout. It’s known that Rejjie takes a lot of pride in his heritage, he is Nigerian, Jamaican and Irish; we see this in many of his other songs including Blakkst Skn (produced by the multi-faceted Kaytranada). From the claps and chords in the beat, to the choir-like vocals Hello sets the tone for an album which will be self-reflecting and mellow in tone. Rainbows is up next, the synthetic chords that have been subtly added are classic Snow behaviour as we’ve seen in several of his previous songs and projects. Snow dives into his feelings about religion and a little bit about his mental state saying, “I’ll be shaking hands with God, but they say he don’t exist”. Rejjie has often spoke about religion and included references to it i.e. in the song Pink Beetle it starts off with the beginning of the prayer Our Father.
We are then introduced to the first of many skits of Rejjie on the radio show ‘Wonderful World of Dear Annie’ with a host whose name we never get to find out. Rejjie explains the meaning and reasoning for some of the songs in this part of the album. I liked these recurring parts in the album, it allowed fluid transition between the different moods throughout as they often came in when there was a tempo change between groups of songs (they were also funny). It also gave me time to digest what I had just heard or get ready for what I was about to hear.
The next doublet of songs is 23 and Pink Lemonade, I think these two are in the top 5 tracks of this album. 23 describes a brief relationship Rejjie had with a girl while he was out in L.A. and how in hindsight it could come across as toxic, but they loved each other. The song has a very reminiscent vibe, Rejjie and the female vocalist go back and forth throughout the song in what feels to the listener as a conversation in their relationship (at that time). I like how the beat is very minimalistic as it highlights the actual lyrics more and they become the focus of the song. This leads perfectly into Pink Lemonade in which Rejjie is talking about a girl who he likes and it’s her birthday. A wide range of metaphors and descriptive lyrics, this song is an absolute vibe and you can tell Snow spent time constructing it in such a way that the listener would be able to picture the female he’s talking about. The beat has more of a part to play in Pink Lemonade compared to 23, there’s a lot of synthetic chords along with drums that create a mellow, airy track.
The tempo then becomes more upbeat with the songs Spaceships and Egyptian Luvr. These two songs definitely stand out in the album as ‘radio-perfect’. Normally, when it comes to albums I don’t tend to like the ‘radio-perfect’ songs the most but in this case, I did. Spaceships features the talented Ebenezer. Snow and Ebenezer have often collaborated in the past so in the skit before when he mentions the feature I had no doubt in my mind that the song was going to be amazing. The song has a N.E.R.D. type feel with it being quite funky with more instruments and chords than heard in any of the previous songs. Egyptian Luvr a single off the album features US-rapper Anime. I love Anime and his music aesthetic fits perfectly with Snows, so it was a collaboration made in heaven. The song was also produced by Canadian-producer Kaytranada who has worked with both rappers before, it was bound to a standout, if not the standout.
The whole album has a mellow vibe to it and definitely showcases Rejjie Snow’s potential as a new age hip-hop artist. It’s evident that artists like N.E.R.D. and Tyler, the Creator have influenced the album with the prevalence of several synthesised chords and futuristic jazz funk vibe. Snow keeps consistent with the story about love and his relationship with a female he tells throughout. There’s no doubt that this is the beginning of the greatness we can expect to come from Rejjie Snow.