Since blasting off from last year’s triple j Unearthed launch pad, Melbourne emcee Remi (Remi Kolawole) has forged a fan base not often associated with such a short time in the scene. The stellar release from the youthful talent, appropriately titled Raw X Infinity, embeds an assorted array of lyrical content and themes. The 13-track offering also diversifies itself in the production corner, which as a whole is delivered as a conscious, thought provoking LP. Not stopping there, the release has been launched by the lyricist’s very own label, House of Beige.
The release demonstrates from the outset Remi’s well-rounded understanding of the genre and pays homage to hip-hop traditionalism in the first track ‘Raw X Infinity’. Whilst heavily stripped back on the production front, featuring only drums and vocals, the launch track paints an honest picture of the flavours to come in the release; powerful lyrical content matched with a controlled technical ability.
It’s no surprise that Remi has fleshed out the release with a number of singles that have already experienced significant time on the airwaves. Strengthening the release, and undoubtedly the ace up the emcee’s sleeve, ‘Livin’ provides a slick, smooth chorus matched with a clever production, complimenting the solemn themes of what Remi refers to as “social commentary, Australian version”. It’s no surprise this particular track has gained favouritism amongst fans, especially those who have followed the rise of the MC over the last 12 months. While it is just as flavoured as Australian hip-hop, ‘Livin’ does provide an alternate outlook for those not fond of the typical Australian hip-hop sound.
As the release works its way through the listing, the energy begins to incline, particularly by the fifth track ‘Tyson’. Powerful, the track breaks the shackles of the earlier solemn tracks, presenting a much more emotive and bashful energy. The addition of ‘Tyson’ works as the counterweight to much of the release, balancing the lower tempo contributions effectively at the albums midway point.
Capping off the release, the hometown-themed ‘Sangria’ completes a well-rounded feature length offering from the Melbourne wordsmith. One of the more digestible tracks, ‘Sangria’ contains a smooth vibe again complimented with a carefree elegance.
The release radiates a flavour of production particularly unexplored in the Australian hip hop genre. Often organic in sound and maintaining a heavy focus on percussion, Remi has carefully curated a distinct theme for much of the album. Whether or not this is an intentional break away from common stylistic flavours, or perhaps an effective use of minimalistic instrumentation, the often simple but effective production compliments the lyrical flow – allowing for a more effective punch when honing in on the lyrical themes. And for this, Remi is to be commended on relying on his technical delivery to provide the ear catching platform for each track; forming a solid and accomplished product in Raw X Infinity.