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Maybe it’s because I’m getting old, but I’m a harsh critic of the music that’s coming out today. Everything, specifically hip-hop, sounds way too manufactured and similar, as if every song that hits the mainstream was rolled out from the same generic mold. Don’t get me wrong, the amount of innovation in music is greater than ever, but once someone figures out a working commercial formula, everyone else just copies it (e.g. trap). I’m strictly talking about mainstream music because those artists who actually express individual artistry tend to be considered too “left” for the ears of the general audience and aren’t given much spotlight. However, you have folks like Kendrick Lamar and Adele who’ve gained mainstream stardom by doing music their own way. I really appreciate young artist who don’t try to ride trends, but rather create their own identities. One of these individuals is Raury.

I’ve heard of Raury for a couple of years now. Within the indie/ underground music scene, he was a buzzing name who had co-signs from major players like Pharrell and Kanye, but I didn’t give him a chance right away because I try to avoid becoming an instant victim of hype. I waited several months before I actually listened to my first Raury song, “God’s Whisperer“, and honestly I wasn’t impressed at all, and from that day, he fell off my radar. I had a couple buddies who raved about Raury here and there, but they weren’t convincing enough to make me give him another listen right away.

Fast forward to maybe a year and a few months later, Raury started to pop up again on scene, mainly because he had a new album, All We Need, coming out. I watched his interviews on Hot97 and the Breakfast Club, and he sounded really insightful for someone being only 19 years old. With that, Raury convinced me to give him a second chance, and I honestly enjoyed his new project. Raury is a versatile artist, rapping on some songs, singing on others, but overall putting together music that conveys meaning and substance. Raury is from the Atlanta area, and he said that one of his goals was to prove that other types of music outside of trap are come out of his hometown. He has almost of a folky hip-hop fused with new age type of sound going for him, which is refreshing.

One of the benefits of living in New York City is that there’s always something to do. Last week, I was sitting at home on a Wednesday night with nothing to do, so I went on Stubhub to see if there were any opportunities to score a cheap ticket to an event. Low and behold Raury was performing at the Bowery Ballroom and I snagged a ticket for $18. I love you, NYC. Raury is a very good performer for someone who a year ago was in high school. He performed songs off All We Need and his first project, Indigo Child. During his performance, I couldn’t help but picture a young Andre 3000 on stage. Raury has that southern twang in his voice similar to 3 Stacks, and sounds very similar when rapping. On stage, he was vibrant and really engaged with the audience at the intimate Bowery Ballroom, and event took a couple stage dives towards the end of the show.

I recommend you give Raury a listen if you want a new sound from a young artist who has a lot of promise and who strives to make his own type of music. Check out All We Need which is available now.

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Rex Pham

Originally from the Bay Area, who then moved to Los Angeles, then out to New York City. NYU Stern MBA c/o 2014. Inspired by the grind of NYC to create something that has value. Lover of all things digital, culture, and brand strategy.