The album “The Rebirth”- rapped and produced almost entirely by New Orleans artist Ronniebaby, verges at times on the melodramatic, with sweeping synths and a shroud-like atmosphere of unrelenting bass growl. The rapper’s lyrically twisting rap style contributes to the album’s overall approach of moody expressionism, embodying mediated craft: Tracks unfold slowly over time, with different elements popping in and out of the sonic field unexpectedly, creating the sensation of a carefully constructed three-dimensional space. But the album’s art is in the confluence of each of these elements together; Ronniebaby fits to these beats, and these beats to him. Its central moments are those in which lyrics and timbre, sound and song are brought into contact and contradiction, all overlapping moods and shifting colors.
The expanding themes of “The Rebirth” forge backdrops replete with screaming vocals to fortify its haunting canvas. As a confrontational street record, those imbricated moods that so empower his work – the way feelings of remorse and pain and anger and humanity, bubble up at once, in contradiction or complement – all spark to life here. In recognition of the world’s darkness, and the seeming futility of resistance to it, the album is the sound of escapism into another dimension.
Right from track one – “ILL” Prod. Dirty Beats, it’s clear that Ronniebaby has crafted emotionally resonant psychedelic art that deserves wider exposure. He exists in the land as a street prophet, but with all the technical flair exhibited by carefully constructed verses and totally left-field deliveries.
He runs through the standard rap and trap tropes in its most hedonistic forms. Indeed, his modus operandi is the one thing that he makes fully clear by the time he hits the foggy haze of “Zone”.
Anything and everything exists in Ronniebaby’s domain. Regardless of the abstractness or intangibility – if it exists, Ronniebaby will twist it into some form of pleasure or power, and take control of it.
As he does on the back to back tracks, “New Hype”, “Make it Go” ft. HotBoy Ron and “Ima sit down”, where he rattles off all the things he has in his mindset at that moment. It’s adrenaline-stuffed, with one foot planted firmly in the present while the other takes a step forward into new sounds and ideas.
The album possesses a void-like capacity for bitches, highs, and emotional hallucination. The music staying in the same affective lane throughout, maintaining a disquieting sense of being creatively skewed, until you arrive at the smooth melodic groove of “F*ckn Body”, but it’s only a 3 minute reprise for you to catch your breath.
“Got Damn” quickly draws you back into the swirling turbid waters of sexual dominance. Every one of his grumbles, groans and grunts packs an emotional punch as he unravels the song’s explicit imagery.
This album is 8 tracks of Ronniebaby making good music. That’s it. There’s no song aimed at the radio. Just Ronniebaby making music based on where his mindset is taking him, and having fun. For as spontaneous as “The Rebirth” sounds, thought has gone into each track and how one flows after the next, and there is zero filler. Every song is its own and not just thrown on to take up space. Ronniebaby sounds at the height of his powers.