Straight out of the Bronx, NY, RA Light grew up listening to hip hop and artists like Eminem and 50 Cent. RA Light, who lived with his single parent mom, had his first hip hop experience coming from a bus ride in an after school excursion back in 2002. RA Light would mime and freestyle to a majority of hip hop sounds seamlessly. The mathematics maverick had his principal transformation in high school as he became exposed to the world of graffiti and music in general. He recorded his first song in the 11th grade, assisted by his music teacher. RA Light then went on to purchase a DAW and make his own beats, and working with a variety of artists. Not just a poet and a songwriter, RA Light is also the author of many books, which he often writes under various pseudonyms.
We recently caught up with RA Light’s 5-track EP, entitled “Round 2”. A blatant 180 degree shift from the confines of rap’s wretched comfort zone, this recording is full of creative risks that pay off in spades. With “Round 2” RA Light has mastered the art of making his poetical sorties commercially accessible.
At the same time he elevates the level of his artistry while creating resonating tunes. Lyrically, the EP is overflowing with sharp bars delivered in RA Light’s calculated voice. No doubt he will manage to earn the respect of his peers and hip-hop fans at large, in part because of his consistent, image-shaping verses.
The strongest moments on “Round 2”, show the ever-unassuming RA Light leaning into what he excels at: telling it like it is. In a genre often anchored by showmanship, RA Light excels at effective communication without saying more than necessary. His wordplay is to the point, and effective. His beats minimal, allowing the rhymes and voice to dominate the scene.
After the a capella intro, “New Wave”, RA Light dives into the melodic flow and reggaeton-based rhythm of “Nina” ft. Makinout. The smooth, tropical sounds provide an opportunity for RA Light to rhyme in a more melodic tone and cadence.
“Round 2” shows RA Light is dynamic in that his delivery is as important as what he says. His pointed tone fortifies his presence; it commands your attention. It works wonders on songs like “Grind”, which also uncovers his personally-soaked contemplations and motivations.
At the other end of the spectrum, the power of his voice adds emphasis to every line of “Za Jester”, which hosts a spectacularly clever beat, dominated by an eccentric piano and off-kilter drum arrangement. It punctuates RA Light’s highly spun tale with just the right amount of inspired momentum.
Strong percussive output marks the presence of the instrumental “Space Switch Tease”, which close the EP down. Throughout this recording RA Light shows that rappers, like anyone else, can succeed by carving out niches. By growing within their own space in which they’re comfortable. By either finding the right situation and bringing value to it, or creating it for themselves.
There is absolutely no need to fall into the hyper-cloned mainstream clichés, in search of that ever-elusive stardom factor. Unlike his contemporaries, RA Light simply doesn’t care to play the mainstream game. And that’s probably the best choice he’s ever made.
In addition, be on the lookout for “Nature Of Beatz Vol, 1” – a group project, and search for the “Nature of Beatz” Playlist on Apple & Spotify.