REVIEW: Kiron Rasheed — Be in Love (SINGLE)
Kiron Rasheed’s debut album Head Start is perhaps one of the most immersive records of its kind to have come across my desk in the past month, and while the mechanics of its harmonies are striking for the audiophile in all of us, its true star is undeniably the man holding the mic in every track. Rasheed’s vocal is superbly smooth whether he’s rapping, singing, or simply straddling a hook like the one we find in his new single “Be in Love,” one of my favorite excerpts from the LP. “Be in Love” has all the ingredients to be a smash, sans the pressurized commerciality overwhelming its narrative with inauthenticity.
The sonic depth of this mix immediately brings to mind the physicality of funk, but the melodicism it’s made to frame is far softer, recalling classic soul at its most balladic. There’s no question that Rasheed doesn’t have a problem wearing his influences on his sleeve, but he stops well short of embracing straight retro elements a lot of his contemporaries have started refashioning as their own in the past couple of years. He’s committed to the hip-hop center in this composition, and it’s one more rooted in contemporary themes than it is anything in the old school.
There’s no getting around the familiar threading of the harmony and the lyricism, but what ultimately separates Kiron Rasheed from someone like Seattle’s much-hyped Ronnue comes down to the simplicity of the former’s attack. He isn’t overthinking any of the brawn of the beats nor the ballad-style plushness of his verse delivery, and by adhering to conventional pop structures in his debut album as opposed to getting outright experimental, I think he makes it a little more possible for fans of rap and R&B the same to appreciate his complete skillset in songs like “Be in Love.”
These vocal harmonies presented to us in the chorus of the song are entrancingly warm yet efficiently tucked between the thrust of the percussive groove in the background, making their value equal to anything this tension-creating tempo might induce. Nothing comprising this release feels forced or out of place — it’s all perfectly manicured to support the virtuosic singing Rasheed breaks off with ease, and from what I can tell, what he teases in “Be in Love” could well be just the tip of the iceberg with respect to what he could do with the proper resources at his disposal.
Hip-hop and R&B fans the same should check “Be in Love” out this summer if they’re jonesing for quality melodies that come unchecked by the synthetics of the status quo. Kiron Rasheed has an impeccable gift at his fingertips, but he isn’t letting it go to waste in this performance at all. He’s got a likeability through both his lyrics and the harmonies that start with his own voice I can see elevating his career from the underground to the mainstream without much of a nudge from the producer’s side of the glass, and that’s hard to come by in any genre these days.