Raury Goes Rogue with The Woods
Evan Dale // April 22, 2018
We live in a world not necessarily overrun but certainly being overtaken by an emotionally in-touch generation of hyper-creative youth. Art has seemingly always been a young person's game - something about the intrinsic desire to express ourselves creatively coupled with a fresh outlook on the world produces something not necessarily better or worse, but simply different than ever before. Yet, in recent years, undoubtedly thanks to the internet, the median age of artists driving new creative directions seems to have shrunk to never before seen lows. The SoundCloud era, the electronic production era, and simply an era of history defined by a particular instability between youth and older generations, have brought modernity to a point where it's almost expected for new artists we come across to be 19 years old.
A factor often overlooked is the role of the current scene's youthful leaders who, from years ago at ridiculously young ages, have been propelling the breakneck pace of sonic experimentation, genre transcendentalism, and never-ending expanses of new music. Raury, a young, impossible-to-define musical genius from Stone Mountain, Georgia, is perhaps the best example of just such a figure.
Without regard to your stylistic preferences there's a good chance you've heard his name and his music, and further, there's a good chance you've liked what you heard. That's because Raury is especially progressive in his nature to not give a fuck about your preconceived musical boundaries. He's not a hip-hop artist or a folk singer, an R&B vocalist or a rock star. Instead, he is whatever he wishes to be, not simply existing, but thriving in the vast grey areas between traditional genres and achieving unheard of success without bounds tying him to a particular sound or fan base.
He is the ultimate chameleon, the perfect multi-dimensionalist, and the strong leader whose goal seems to be universal freedom of creative self-expression. And yesterday, on April 21, 2018, he made his biggest step yet to ensuring his artistic utopia.
Freeing himself and subsequently his music from the restrictive governing bars of his deal with Columbia Records, the 21-year-old leader of the artistically youthful wave with an old soul and an deep canon, deepened it with a mass celebratory release of 22 new singles which are the pieces of a larger project that he’s calling The Woods.
That's five long EP's worth of music.
That's two full-length albums by any normal artist.
This is unprecedented, shocking, and bold. And yet, it is so very Raury. It is a slap in the face of music industry traditionalism; it is a warm embrace of the entirety of his audience which has been anxiously awaiting new music; it is the strike of a match that may very well lead to a further undermining of archaic industry standards and a firm and complete restructuring of the way artists and their art interact with the world.
We don't have the time and no reader should have the patience for an-depth review of all 22 singles released. Just know that it's an artistic gold mine - it's the unearthing of a buried treasure in an age where such a score need not be divied-up, but rather can be enjoyed in whole by anyone with a SoundCloud account.
Lastly, know that regardless who you are, no matter your musical tastes, Raury, the courageous leader of genre transcendence, stylistic individuality, and the youth, has done this for you, and that without a doubt, there is something in the vast breadth of this project that sings to your ear.
You just have to go find it.
Time to start listening.