300 Entertainment / Brace Face – 16th February

Rejjie Snow’s Dear Annie is bursting with soul. Gliding seamlessly through old-school conscious hip-hop to funky collaborations, the Irish-born rapper has proved himself as one of the most exciting breakthrough artists in recent years. Pulling us through complex narratives, trippy percussions and jazzy progressions, Snow leaves his listeners with a sense of refreshed bliss after a truly sensational experience.

He’s teased fans by releasing parts one and two as EPs, but once curated the album feels like a running story. Opening up with the chanting, ‘Dear Annie’ and breaking down with some jazz-infused hip-hop, we are introduced to the chilled out, groovy selection of tunes. These are then broken up with minute-long DJ shows, musical interludes and skit interviews.

The funky sounding lead single ’Egyptian Luvr’, produced by Kaytranada, has a certain groove ton it that makes you just want to listen over and over again, while ‘Desole’ has a delicate feel to it, with its laid back flutes and gentle vocals, there’s an intimacy that the breaks down into a soulful fadeout.

There’s then an element of jazz thrown in, as pianos tap along to ‘The Rain’. In this track, Snow’s ability to create a full story shines through, as he raps “Dumb and young enough, my actions / Keep on haunting me, my / Demons are my bitch when I sleep.” He’s then joined by Krondon and Cam O’bi to finish off the explicit yet sultry complex narrative.

Bringing in more of a old-school feel is ‘LMFAO’, with a funky bassline and a beat that’s remnant of 1980s New York hip-hop, it’s undeniably groovy and is bound to get people dancing once they have a listen. Following that, ‘Charlie Brown’ featuring Anna of the North brings back the funk and also a kind of dream-pop influence. Following that is a collaboration with Jesse Boykins III, ‘Annie’, with heavy basslines and Boykins’ soulful vocals.

The album has an understated coolness to it, combining elements of funk, jazz and electronics with ease the sound moves from 80’s hip-hop to the sound of the future. Snow’s ability to create a running story of love and lust seems beyond his 23 years of age. The ability not only to build on top of tracks but to restrain from using overly-complicated tricks make the album feel fresh yet soulful. There’s still so much more to hear.

Buy: Rejjie Snow – Dear Annie

Live: The Roundhouse – 14th March