Rye Rye plays the "After Party," a debut from WOOF, plus Al Lover, Lightning Dust, and more
TOFU AND WHISKEY Rye Rye went underground for a blip there. Discovered at 15 in a Baltimore club by Blaqstarr, then later introduced and signed to MIA's Interscope imprint, N.E.E.T. Recordings, the burgeoning dancer, colorful fashion icon, and hip-hop artist seemed destined for immediate stardom. Then she got pregnant, and her debut album, originally slated for release in 2009, was delayed.
After a great many guest spots and collaborations, she came roaring back solo in 2012 with the release of that debut, Go! Pop! Bang!, and an acting gig in the film remake of 21 Jump Street. She popped up again in 2013 with her spring-released track "After Party" off casually impending mixtape RYEde or Die, and this June as a guest star on Asher Roth's "Actin Up" (which later ended up also including Justin Bieber and Chris Brown).
She'll be back in the Bay Area this week, after swinging through Oakland as the opener for Scissor Sisters last year at the Fox. This Hard French after party with Micahtron, however, should be a much more intimate, Rye Rye-centric event (Sat/3, 9pm, $20. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF. www.publicsf.com)
The 22-year-old's style is bold and her voice positively bursts with energy and sonic Funfetti on tracks like the aforementioned frenzied dance single "After Party," which includes call-backs to both MIA and Missy Elliott (whom she calls her main inspirations, in addition to Kanye West). She's equally tough and confident on aggressively fun songs like Go! Pop! Bang!'s "Dance." And in the video for tender club hit "Boom Boom," also off Go! Pop! Bang! — which samples the '90s Vengaboys' pop hit "Boom Boom Boom" — Rye Rye stars in a live action video game, showcasing both her dance skills and multihued lavender, sky blue, and pink bangs. Plus, she's been known to tear up the dancefloor in person, at her own shows.
Yet on the phone, she's quiet, coy, and talks in a girlish tone. Though she does mention several times that she's a generally shy person, so this likely accounts for the tiny voice I hear whispering through the phone line from a hot day in Baltimore. She talks to me while watching cartoons with her young daughter, who she says likes her mom's songs and already dances to them. "She knows it all," Rye Rye says.
In talking about her own early days, as a teen going out with her older sister, Rye Rye says hip-hop was king, but there was some club music and R&B at the spots they'd hit up. At the time, she was in a group that used to dance all over Baltimore, which is what led to her making her own music. Fortuitously, her sister was friends with Blaqstarr, and she met him in a club then later rapped on his answering machine. "I saw him in the club that night, and he asked me to spit it for him and I was like, being shy so I told him no. But we started working in the studio together then eventually met MIA and Diplo."
Those sessions led to her first mixtape, and eventually, Go! Pop! Bang! For RYEde or Die, she's still in the midst of working on new tracks, but says she's taking her time on this one because she's not quite sure the direction she wants to go in just yet. "I'm deciding if I want to base it on things I deal with, you know? So I'm just still writing on it, trying to plan it out."