The Seattle hip-hop scene has been abuzz with the work of rising star Ronnue and his stylish brand of alternative funk this season, and it doesn’t take much more than a single listen of his latest release, the Introduction 2 Retro-Funk LP, to understand what all of the hype has been about. Ronnue pummels us with gritty grooves in “You Tried Me (The Man’s Anthem),” singles “Be Your Freak” and “Something About U (The Retro-Funk Mix)” and deep cuts like the colorful slow jam “In Love,” and even though most of the music here has, as the title implies, an old school feel, Introduction 2 Retro-Funk is anything but an exhibition in throwback culture.
There are a lot of soul influences in songs like “In Love” and the twisty “Why (feat. Figuz),” but by and large, this album is a loud, proud eruption of funk. “If We Stayed 2gether” follows a brief parental advisory intro in “Rated M.A.” and gets the tracklist cooking with some fierce beats and a tenacious bassline that will extend into “Be Your Freak” without missing a step. Other than the intro and the brief skit-intermission at track 9 (“Bathroom vs. Studio”), Introduction 2 Retro-Funk is all content and no filler from the second we drop the needle to the moment that the music disappears into the ethers.
“I’m a Lesbian” has got a chill-factor that I definitely haven’t heard from a Seattle R&B player before, and a lot of it has to do with the strength of this mix. Every instrumental component is given just as much attention as the vocal is, and in songs like this one, Ronnue is able to wash us in cerebral textures without overwhelming us with the grandiosity of the music – admittedly no easy feat, even for the most talented of songwriters and arrangers in the business today.
I found “Why,” “17 Days (The Hood Mix),” and “Do It (The Remix)” (which features Roc Phizzle and Soultry in brief but noteworthy guest appearances) to be some of the most experimental material that Ronnue has come up with thus far in his career, and personally I would really like to see him explore the hybridity that he toys with in these tracks on future releases. He’s got a really inventive approach when it comes to merging the iconic with the intrepidly progressive and contemporary, and if he finds a way to adapt this sound into a more pop-friendly look, mainstream exposure won’t be difficult for him to attain in the years to come.
While I’m not the only critic saying as much, I really love where Ronnue is taking his sound at the moment with Introduction 2 Retro-Funk, an album that I would go as far as to deem his most profoundly streamlined set of tracks yet. He’s come a long way in the last few years, and judging from what I’ve heard in this 12-track smorgasbord, I would have to assume that he’s not going to be slowing down any time soon. Ronnue has a coveted variety of momentum at the moment, and it’s no doubt because of this breakthrough collection of single-worthy songs.
The music of RONNUE has been heard all over the world due to the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Records. Learn more – https://musikandfilm.com