Sy Ari Da Kid Blurs Trap and R&B’s Grey Area with ‘It’s Not You, It’s Me’
Evan Dale // Feb 11, 2021
Nobody in R&B or hip-hop has done more over the course of the last few years than Sy Ari Da Kid. The prolific Atlanta creative whose music transcends everything his city’s stylistic discourse ranges from on the hip-hop-to-R&B plane, released four full-length projects in 2020, putting on display just how omnipotent his understanding of Atlanta’s musical mosaic really is. And at the beginning of 2021, he’s again exploring a unique corner of it. Expectedly bleeding with the emotional lane that its title hints at, It’s Not You, It’s Me is a fervent futurist R&B exploration that lands Sy Ari Da Kid somewhere between the aesthetics of Young Thug writing love ballads and K CAMP putting aside any pop inhibitions in favor of a demeanor better denoted as outlandish and risqué.
The whole project is a sexy explanation of why it’s just not gonna work out between the sultry Atlanta lovechild and myriad gorgeously flawed counterparts. You see, Sy Ari Da Kid has a wide taste in women, and an even wider sonic range. An underrated lyricist who can rap when he wants to – and does so often – and an emotionally evoking vocalist who can pen a classic R&B babymaker with ease, a fan never really knows what they’re going to get each time he puts out a project. But with this one – reminiscent of last Summer’s A Toxic Heartbreak – Sy Ari Da Kid is making his case as one of the more adept, interesting, and ultimately successful names in a modern R&B scene that prizes risks taken and ways paved where once was only a road untraveled.
Mostly bass-heavy, addicting R&B infused with Sy Ari’s tendency to sew raps between his vocally laden hooks, It’s Not You, It’s Me plays both of his stylistic lanes in persistent, liquid harmony. Even in the project’s slower tracks – the kind of ones that find themselves both thematically and instrumentally leaning towards the romantic edge of a classic, sexy R&B sound – Sy Ari weaves in and out of differing cadences and flows with such fluid effortlessness that it becomes clear he is neither a rapper or a singer, but a post-genre existence of both folded into one unique lane. With a track like Jet Magazine Beauty Of The Week, where Sy Ari understatedly addresses a relationship with the hip-hop magazine’s weekly digital centerfold, Sy Ari, in one motion, makes a lighthearted remark on relationships in the shallowness of the social media age, puts together a heartfelt, albeit hood-humorous ballad, and creates, unapologetically, a stylistically blurred mosaic worthy of Atlanta’s modern transcendentalism.
And yet, through 13 tracks and 40 minutes, he never really misses that same formula, albeit always in evolving form. Some tracks, like Daddy Issues, lean more towards his pop-adjacent hip-hop threshold, inviting fellow Atlanta rapper, Trouble to give a quickfire verse addressing exactly what the track’s name represents. With other tracks, like First Come First Curve, Sy Ari Da Kid outlines a certified radio hit, again tight roping his stylistic range, but leaning even more towards a pop-worthy lane that only he seems capable of navigating in the modern scene. It’s anthemic. And for anyone listening, so are at least a few more tracks on the project – depending on one’s listening habits and state of mind. Each track blurs braggadocio with the ballad; bravado with banter; audacity with emotional vulnerability. And in that always thriving juxtaposition emerges Sy Ari Da Kid’s true genius when crafting the kind of R&B futurism that can still soundtrack the club.
Again exhibiting his range, his fluidity, and his transcendentalism, Sy Ari Da Kid with It’s Not You, It’s Me, is making more than a case that he’s one of the most well-rounded examples of the wide-ranging Atlanta sound, but that he has ultimately refined his own sound through such prolific continuance, pushing the envelope for what’s expected and what’s possible in the grey areas between hip-hop and R&B music.