There’s nothing misleading about the title of Rye Rye’s debut album, Go! Pop! Bang!, out now on N.E.E.T./Interscope. From the police siren start and popcorn beats of “Drop,” Rye Rye assures us that she’s still the party girl rapper with the voice of a gum-smacking teenager. And that dancing to her tracks is mandatory.
A lot has changed for Rye Rye since she first caught the attention of music industry heavyweights at just 16. She signed with M.I.A.’s Interscope imprint, N.E.E.T., made a debut album and had a baby. That last part led to a three-year delay in the release of Go! Pop! Bang!, but all of the growing up she had to do in that time hasn’t darkened Rye Rye one bit. Her raps are still clever, beats still electro-licious, and that sweet tone in her voice even when making some of her dirtiest sexual references–yep, that’s still there too.
Rye Rye certainly gets some help from her friends on this album. Producers include Pharrell, RedOne, Bangladesh and M.I.A., and Akon, Tyga, Robyn and Porcelain Black drop in for cameos. “DNA,” which features Porcelain Black, is destined to be a club hit, or as Rye Rye puts it, “This is a party anthem.” It’s one of those songs that will endlessly loop through your mind as you stumble out of bed the next morning. Not surprisingly, M.I.A. also shows up a few times on the album. In “Better Than You,” the pair is accompanied by a sample of Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun. Rye Rye and M.I.A. execute this bold choice flawlessly, and the combination creates an endearingly egotistical parallel duet battle.
“Crazy Bitch” with Akon marks one of the more melodic moments on the album, but as the title suggests, Rye Rye hasn’t gone soft on us as Akon repeatedly calls her a “crazy bitch” and she (somewhat lovingly) agrees with him. The original version of “Never Will Be Mine,” Rye Rye’s collaboration with Robyn, is a slow-clap ballad with Rye Rye rapping the verses about being burned by a dude while Robyn croons the chorus. The R3hab remix of the track that appears on the album turns the song into a club banger. Scrapping the slow tempo and adding some aggressive synthesized beats turns Rye Rye’s song from a frowning heartbreak track into one where she sounds more pissed off than sad for being slighted.
It may have taken three years for Go! Pop! Bang! to see the light, but fortunately, in Rye Rye’s case, she has only gotten better with age.