Ever since the day RL Grime informed his fans that he would be releasing a debut full length album, we at Dance Music Northwest have been following the Los Angeles-bred artist’s every move. Henry Steinway has been extraordinarily busy with the events leading up to Void‘s release. RL began his Void fall tour, blessed us with another Halloween mix, and dropped a handful of badass singles such as Core, Reminder and Scylla. The good news is that these past couple months of agonizing anticipation are over, as RL Grime officially released Void on November 17th.
RL Grime started his project as an ode to Goosebumps author RL Stine in 2010. Also producing electro house under the moniker Clorkwork, Henry Steinway quickly developed into a trap music pioneer. His early remixes of Cam’ron’s Hey Ma, Drake’s Over and Chris Brown’s Look At Me Now showcased the producer’s tendency to infuse hip-hop tracks with knocking 808s and dreamy synthesizers. In 2012, RL Grime burst onto the scene with a boost in trap’s popularity and an absolute banger of a track in his remix with Salva for Kanye West’s Mercy. 2013 witnessed RL Grime’s remix of Benny Benassi’s rave classic Satisfaction, whcih become a festival staple. Henry closed out a strong 2013 with his EP High Beams, that is essentially a field guide to trap, and leaves you yearning to go bottoms up on a bottle of Hennessy.
One can deduce that RL Grime is a versatile producer solely based off of the fact that he has more than one project with a radically different sounds. Despite RL Grime’s stance on the top of trap mountain, he has always incorporated sounds that help break the frequent monotony of the genre. Because of U is a perfect example of Henry’s ability to step out of the box without compromising his identity. The song is one of the biggest building blocks for Void‘s sound and vibe.
Void is a captivating listen and an absolute win for RL Grime. His production style up to this point led some to believe that the album would be a disjointed collection of banger after banger. This could not be any further from the truth. Void features surprising depth and a dark energy that truly validates RL Grime’s ability as a producer, songwriter and artist. The album does indeed feature the balls-to-the-wall bangers that you would expect from Henry but these tracks never stray too far out of Void‘s context and storyline. Regardless of your preferred musical tastes, Void is still diverse enough to feature something you are bound to enjoy.
As great of an album it is, Void is not without its flaws. RL Grime’s pairing with Big Sean for Kingpin feels out of place. The song seems dumbed down and forced, from both a lyrical and production stand point. RL Grime frequently collaborates with rappers, so the decision to feature an emcee was not a surprising move. However, Big Sean was simply just not the right choice for this track. Hopefully an instrumental version will be released.
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