...While rap music famously thrives on cliche harmonies and indistinguishable lyricism, Hip-Hop has found its next emerging leader of the new school: Ryan Lucas. His latest album, I Want Her Back, is refreshing, engaging, and thorough.
Chock-full with winding samples and infectious percussion, Ryan Lucas sends the average listener on a journey we all usually seek when listening to an album. With braggadocious lyricism, Ryan provides substantive and introspective lyrics that are reminiscent of Kanye’s College Dropout or Late Registration. But Ryan’s I Want Her Back, though indie, conveys a more expansive and enterprising message: the power of one can champion the masses.
When listening to other Ryan Lucas projects, one is usually taken on trips of nostalgia, I Want Her Back finds Ryan settling into his pocket. Instead of looking inside for answers, he's looking out to the world and emphasizing the need for love. When he raps, “Today real love seems so archaic, but I take it back in the day on some RK status” on “Damn Love,” it's obvious Ryan is on a pilgrimage to put love back at the center of rap and it’s craft. Ryan’s choice of production and producer reinforce that same belief.
Here, Ryan segways between the 808, boom-bap and winding old school 70s sample to articulate his love of both music and Blackness. This is evident when he raps, “For centuries Africans denied liberation, they mask our importance with false education” In “Bo Jackson,” he pens a song of liberation and solidarity for those across the African diaspora as the hook’s singers, KoraTheArtist and Reel, match his sentiment with “I’m gonna be all that I can be.” Other notable tracks are “AfroCool” + “All I Want” + “Love is Here.”
Ryan Lucas’ artistry is reminiscent of Kanye in the early 2000s. His lyricism demonstrates the same hunger, passion, and vitality that would make any audience clamor to the stage to join in a chant of support and dance. I Want Her Back can be interpreted as a metaphor for desiring an ex-lover, but also serves as a metaphor for his admiration and unrequited love for Hip-Hop. She, seemingly elusive, is one who he can’t let get away. And with musicians of Ryan’s elk on the rise––especially those with a deep passion for African people, rhythms and sounds––it’s safe to say that he isn’t letting hip-hop drift away any longer.
If you’re looking for something to drive to, or chill out with the bae with - heck, even spark the revolution to - this album is just is what you need. Follow Ryan Lucas on twitter and listen to him on Soundcloud. Ryan Lucas’, The DC Gentlemen, I Want Her Back is out now on iTunes.
...Trust me, this is an album every true hip-hop head needs to hear.
I am a man on a mission! As a writer, I expound on Black culture from a millennial perspective and unite and empower marginalized communities through journalism and social media. A Master’s in African American Studies, I’m also the creator of The Corner, a one-hour student run weekly radio at Temple University. Follow me on Twitter: @Tyreebp..