23 year-old Melbourne, Australia-based emcee Remi along with producer and collaborator Sensible J have quickly risen to national prominence with the 2014 release of their critically and commercially successful Raw X Infinity, an album that was Triple J‘s Album of the Week, the Independent Hip Hop Album of the Year by the Australian Independent Record Association and received international attention from the likes of OkayAfrica, JUICE, laut.de, NPR‘s All Things Considered, and others. Along with those accolades Remi was named “Australian Breakthrough Artist of the Year,” and tour both nationally and across the UK and the European Union with the likes of Danny Brown, Vic Mensa, De La Soul, Joey Bada$$ and Damon Albarn.
And if you’ve been frequenting this site for the past few months, you’d likely know that the duo’s much-anticipated full-length effort Divas and Demons is slated for a September release through House of Beige Records, and the album’s first single “For Good” a collaboration featuring Sydney, Australia-based poet, visual artist and singer/songwriter Sampa The Great was a charming and coquettish love song in which its male and female narrators bicker and fight, cheat and drive each other insane in a dysfunctional relationship that they both resolve to get right because they can’t possibly dream of a life apart from each other and paired with a swooning and soulful Sensible J. Production consisting of Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar and boom bap drum programming and Simon Mavin’s cosmically shimmering and jazzy keyboard chords. And although incredibly contemporary, the song sounds as though it could have been released sometime between 1997 and 2002 — and in some way sounds as though it draws from The Roots and Erykah Badu‘s “You Got Me,” and others.
“Substance Therapy,” the second and latest single off the album is as Remi explains in press notes is about depression being “a dream in a scream mask, brandishing a hunting knife. When I take drugs, or drink, it’s the equivalent of giving that motherfucker the coordinates to my house. it just makes everything so worse,” and as a result, the song lyrically focuses on a narrator, who drinks, drugs and womanizes excessively to desperate escape his life and its miserable circumstances; however, besides leaving him broke, frustrated, alone, increasingly depressed, anxious and fucked up — and he recognizes that he’s in a difficult to break cycle. Sonically, Sensible J’s production is meant to emphasize the fucked up, anxious and depressed feeling from the lyrical content as you’ll hear looped and repetitive chopped up samples, heavy bass stabs, swirling electronics and buzzing synths. Interestingly, the song captures the vacillating sense of loathing, self-doubt, fear, anger and escapism of the severely depressed while revealing that the young emcee is adding himself to a lengthy tradition of emcees who can rhyme while telling a compelling story.
The recently released music video features a stumbling and staggering Remi while rhyming the lyrics of the song through the woods and on a pier as several hooded figures follow him — perhaps those figures are his doubts and obligations; in any car they follow him as though they were simultaneously judging his actions, enabling his bad behaviors and judging them altogether.