No matter where you look in the music industry these days, it’s safe to say that crossovers are where the action is at. From ambient and rock to country and hip-hop, there’s no limit to the experimentations a welcoming generation of music fans will demand in 2021, and answering their call this March is Billy D Rice, whose new single “The One I Love” is a blend of pastoral and progressive rap few will be able to resist. Though this is Rice’s debut, he doesn’t come across as an unaware amateur here at all, but instead like a seasoned vet who knows what kind of a sound he wants to claim as his own.
Along for the ride in “The One I Love” is Brian Bristow, whose rapping complements the warmth of the melodic vocal Rice provides here wonderfully through an aggressive aesthetic contrasting with the overall tone of the song. I get the idea that a big part of the mission here was to stretch as much out of the lyrical substance as they could without sounding overly urgent or forced in their construction of the verses, and to me, they couldn’t have done better for this type of a single.
I love the passion in the music video, which features Rice’s partner Msbluepandora in a lead role beside the aforementioned players, and I think it does a good job of demonstrating the investment each of them have in the medium before us. There’s as much emotion in the visuals comprising this video as there is the actual fabric of the song in the background, and while it might have been common practice to expect as much out of both country and hip-hop in years prior to now, to say that it’s not the standard anymore would be too great an understatement for me to make.
The swing in this track’s rhythm is perhaps the most infectious part of “The One I Love” after the actual execution of the lyrics in the chorus by Rice, and since hearing it for the first time just recently I haven’t been able to shake the beat from my mind. That’s the true pop nucleus beneath the countrified cosmetics of this single and its companion music video, and it could prove more than enough to attract some mainstream attention to Billy D Rice’s brand in the near future.
Taking a big country hook, hip-hop swagger and melding them together isn’t an entirely new concept to the world, but it’s quite refreshing to find in “The One I Love.” What Rice and his collaborators are establishing for themselves here amounts to unmissable content if you’re a fan of the alternative beat, and whether you’re a dedicated experimental buff or not I would still recommend taking a peek at what this track is all about. Hybrids are something most people tend to agree on nowadays, and in this sense “The One I Love” couldn’t have had a better timed debut than this year’s spring season.