Seductive and tranquillising, Rejjie Snow’s seminal album Dear Annie certifies the Dublin rapper as a master of fluidity, a connoisseur of curation and collaboration, and one of the most exciting breakthrough artists in recent years.
From start to finish, Dear Annie oozes soul and lyrical dexterity. Album opener ‘Hello’ entices us in with soulful jazz-infused hip-hop, introducing Snow’s effortless ability to fuse feel-good beats with deep meaning. Similarly, ‘Rainbows’ introduces syrupy earworm hooks that radiate over Snow’s introspective lyrics. “Now I’m laughing six feet beneath the moon, I’m lonely” drawls Snow, perhaps in a reference to old friend King Krule’s debut album. Languid flow melts the album together; ’23’ is a particular highlight, as oceanic grooves drift under vocals that express pain, discontent and longing. Caroline Smith’s contribution to this track almost steals the show, with her honeyed vocals urging you to replay the song before it’s even finished.
Collaboration features heavily on this 20-track piece of art, showcasing strong female voices and highlighting Snow’s genius as a curator. Kaytranada produced single ‘Egyptian Luvr’, featuring Aminé and Dana Williams, pinpoints Snow’s acute ear for weaving UK talent into a luscious blanket of iridescent beats and captivating vocals. And at no point does anything seem forced, with each track sauntering with an effortlessly natural flow.
Preceded by two EPs – Dear Annie, Pt.1 and Dear Annie, Pt.2 – this LP continues the narration of Snow’s navigation through love and desire. His baritone drawl, which still retains flecks of his Dublin roots, discusses the stories behind the lyrics during intermissions with an anonymous late-night radio host, maintaining the old-school feel of the album without breaking any atmospheric flow.
Rejjie Snow has been a sleeping giant in hip-hop for years now, and this debut album proves that he deserves to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the UK’s greatest artists.