We’ve all been waiting for Rye Rye to lead us out the slums of the urban hum drum into the hurried house-tech haven of the dance floor since her vernal vocals revved the world with “Shake It Down to The Floor” in 2006. This long awaited album debut of one of Hip Hop’s most progressive and promising young talents marks a full flip in the music industry. While spitting wistful rhymes that are as alto-aggressive as they are underground-uplifting, Rye Rye gives it all. Go! Pop! Bang! racks up juke tracks that’ll break your back. Rye Rye’s lyrics resounds with all the hardness true-born urbanites across the world must mean mug, rep and project. However, Rye Rye’s voice daftly reminds us; sincere sweat is sometimes the only potent thrusts against the havoc of street stress.
With hood heavy break beats, ghetto-house intervals and rave racer rhythms, Rye Rye gives us gravel and guts, her stone cold heart. The high-frequency force of her youthful voice balances the hard-house bass. Her unwavering whistling wrecks the mic. Her piping vocals juxtapose n.e.e.t.ly against a backdrop of rough riding rumbles. “Bang” though not featured on the release, still blasts high treble and insidious bounce, nice and tight. The long lost summer delight of some eons ago, “Sunshine,” will never stop swaying with a soulful two-step, offering up double dutch delights with ramped-up R&B flow. Rye Rye twists and dips the way only a “Hardcore Girl” from Baltimore could. Rye Rye’s collab with Dimepiece on the aforementioned HG track, is fierce but I guess too old to have made it on to final cut. While “Boom Boom” is light and joyful, “Better Than You” is the best track on the album, hands down. It sounds kinda like Rye Rye’s letting M.I.A. have it for ripper her style er something.
We got to chit-chat with Rye Rye about her hometown B-more, the stresses of touring and some surprising stops along her recent tour routes in the past couple years. Rye Rye may be young, but her cuteness shouldn’t outweigh her sincerity. She gives her all, and stands loud and proud for her music. Though, her recent debut has received mixed reviews for its overt pop-orientation, Rye Rye defends her album with full passion. The blistering starlet recently made her acting debut in 21 Jump Street, also featuring a Rye Rye and Esthero’s cover of the original series theme song. The film debuted at SXSW this past year, to critical success.
We’re really excited about your album. We’ve been waiting for it for quite some time.
So, I read online that you started out as a young poet in Baltimore… What’s that story?
Yeah, I used to write poetry sometimes, just on free times. And I used to write R&B songs. I wrote a rap song, or well, I started one. I stopped, but my sister was friends with Blaqstarr and he asked her did I know how to rap. That inspired me to take the rap song I wrote, write it into a whole entire song and rap it onto his answering machine. I seen him at the club and he asked me to spit the verse for him, and I was like, ‘No, I’m hot and sweaty. I just got finished dancing.’ Basically, being shy and then I just blast. Eventually, I started working at the studio on my spare time, just for fun and M.I.A. and Diplo overheard one of my songs because she came to Baltimore to work on her album and ended up at the studio with Blaqstarr. So, she overheard my song and wanted to meet me. So I went to the studio, met her and Diplo and I then started working from there.
Tell me a little more about Baltimore. You’ve traveled all over the world. How is Baltimore different or changed now that you’ve left. How do you see Baltimore now?
It’s a place you call home. To me it’s a grounded place. It’s kinda typical and normal compared to other places I go to. I feel like it’s more relaxed. For me, now that I travel a lot and move for work and business, when I’m home all the people there treat me like I’m Ryeisha, just normal. It’s a relaxed, chill place. It’s somewhere I can just go relax and chill with my real friends.
You’re touring really hard for this album. You’re like hitting a city a day for how long?
Yeah, it’s like for three weeks.
That’s gotta be exhausting.
Yeah, performing almost everyday.
How do you handle it? It’s gotta be a lot of stress?
When I go back to Baltimore, if I’m there for a long time, I’m like ‘Fuck it. I need to get out of here.’ So I be so excited to tour ‘n stuff. The biggest thing for me is I just miss my family. I have a daughter so that’s my biggest thing. I have to be away from my daughter for a long time and just not being able to see her. But I really enjoy it at the same time. I don’t look at it as work or stress. It’s fun for me. I would rather be like here doing it than at home doing nothing. I feel like, for me performing comes natural. A lot of the stuff is very natural for me. I don’t have to do vocal warm ups, like all of that type of stuff. Some people find it stressful because they got different techniques. People do vocal warm ups and stretch everyday, they do different stuff that stresses you out, but for me it’s very easy. I’m real simple. I don’t do anything to get mentally prepared or physically prepared for my shows. I’m just ready. I just do it. And when I’m not performing, I’m just chilling on the sofa around my peoples and my team and stuff. It’s cool. It’s chill for me.
You’ve been on the road a lot. What’s one of the best or your favorite place you’ve been to?
My favorite place? I really loved Mexico. I liked the weather there. The people were so friendly. It’s like people worshiped it. They were so excited. They thought I was really interesting. They were really just feelin it.
Really? When did you go to Mexico?
I went about two years ago. I went with M.I.A. I just like it because it seemed like people is hustling. And I think that’s like hard work. There was people everywhere just trying to sell shit and I was giving and buying stuff, cuz I was like, ‘you know what? It’s hard work. They grindin out here.’
No. That’s true. That’s true. I just spent a year down there, so I know how it is. But, I’m glad you liked it down there.
[light chuckles back and forth]
I’m trying to find out about the album though. Lets talk about that. It’s been a really long time, a really long wait. The album was supposed to be released like in early 2011? It took a hot second for you guys to release it. What happened? What was going on?
The first thing was me getting pregnant. That set my album back cuz I needed to take time off and just be a mom. I had to take time off to deal with that, and I just got back from touring and the next thing from that was recording. You know, catching back up with the times and getting 100% comfortable with my album. I was just recording a lot, as much as I can, so I could have options to choice from. I was progressing as well.
I can see that. I can feel that. There have been some minor complaints online that the album was a bit too poppy for people. What do you have to say to that, to the haters?
At the end of the day, it’s my album and it’s all about what I love. I know I’m here in it for my fans, but overall it’s what I like and what I love and that’s how I do it. If I’m 100% comfortable with it, I really don’t care. Some people are saying, ‘Oh this is not what we expected from her.’ They wanted me to do more Baltimore club stuff. But, as I said, I did Batlimore club on my mixtape. This an album. What people have to understand is it’s a whole other level. It’s two different things. I could easily pursue Baltimore club music. I could put out another mixtape and make it all Baltimore club music, but this is my album. It took it up to the next level. I got multicultural and I had to do different stuff. You know what I’m saying? Stuff that everyone can relate to. At the end of the day I love my album. I love the different approaches that’s on it. For the people that wanted it to be something that it wasn’t, oh well. At the end of the day it’s about what I love and I love it.
Right, right. Right, right right. What about young emcees, people who might be looking up to you as somebody who comes from a real place and made it. What advice might you have for young emcees especially young ladies?
I would just tell ‘em stay true to who they are. A lot of young females feel like they have to sleep with certain guys or exploit they selves to get where they need to be. I would say, just be who you are. You shouldn’t have to do all of that to be accepted. Just stay true to yourself. Anything is possible. You can do it if you really want it.
Well you’re certainly proof of that. I appreciate your time. What cities are you excited about hitting up on your tour?
Thank you. I appreciate your time, too. I haven’t been to Chicago in a while. I’m excited. I haven’t been there in so long and I’ve got some amazing friend there as well. I’ll probably record a little bit if I can, if I get time.
Really, in Chicago? I didn’t know there were any production companies or studios on that level over here, but ok! Who you looking to recording with over here?
Probably, Mano, DJ Mano. Kanye West’s DJ. That’s one of my good friends. I love working with him. But, I haven’t been to a lot of cities like Minneapolis. I’m excited to go there.
What about food? Chicago’s such a good food city. Do you ever get go to any restaurants while on tour. I know you’re hitting like a city per day, but do you get to go to to any good restaurants?
No. It would have to be early during the day, which sucks for me cuz I wake up late.
We get to go out sometimes. I try. We get catering at the venue though.
Aw catering, that’s not the same.
I know. I’ll try to go out in Chicago though.