Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you’ve likely come across a couple of posts on Melbourne, Australia-based emcee Remi and his producer and collaborator Sensible J. And as you may recall the duo rose to national prominence with the 2014 release of their critically and commercially successful effort Raw X Infinity, an album that was named Triple J’s Album of the Week and the Independent Hip Hop Album of the Year by the Australian Independent Record Association, and received international attention from OkayAfrica, JUICE, laut.de, NPR‘s All Things Considered, and several others. Adding to a growing national and international profile, the young Melbourne-based artist was named “Australian Breakthrough Artist of the Year” and he along with his producer and collaborator wound up touring nationally and across the UK and the EU with Danny Brown, Vic Mensa, De La Soul, Joey Bada$$ and Damon Albarn.
Last year saw the release of the duo’s critically applauded full-length Divas and Demons, an album that revealed a supremely talented emcee, who was an adept lyricist and storyteller, whose stories possessed an earnest and soul-baring honesty. In fact, you may recall that I wrote about the album’s first three singles “For Good,” a charmingly coquettish love song in which its male and female narrators have misunderstandings, bicker and fight, cheat an drive each other insane in a youthfully dysfunctional relationship featuring Sydney, Australia-based poet, visual artist and singer/songwriter Sampa The Great rhyming and singing over a warm and soulful production by Sensible J that nodded at The Roots and Erykah Badu’s “You Got Me.” “Substance Therapy,” the album’s second single featured Remi rhyming honestly about how drinking, drugging and womanizing as an escape from himself and his depression only managed to further mire him in depression. Along with provocative, soul-baring lyrics, Sensible J’s production was meant to emphasize vacillating sense of self-loathing, elf-doubt, fear, anger, and desperate escapism of the dangerously depressed. The album’s third single “Lose Sleep” was a deeply personal song that drew from Remi’s own experiences a mixed race man in Australia and in the world — and in some way, he wanted the song to be a message to other mixed race kids about that weird feeling of feeling as though you could never quite fit in; but that his experience and story, as of those of others matters in a much larger story.
“Contact Hi/High/I” is the latest single off 2016’s Divas and Demons and the as the Melbourne-based emcee explains of his collaboration with Hiatus Kaiyote’s Silent Jay, “I wrote this joint when I was living out of home. One of my friends once told me: ‘In Australia, we have it so good, we’re afforded the liberty to stay childish for our whole lives.’ Whether drinking culture, drug culture, consumerism, etc. I kinda noticed this in myself and wanted to just write about my childish mentality, and how it was being validated by my vices.” The single features both Silent Jay and Remi singing and rhyming over a warm and soulful Sensible J production consisting of twinkling keys, congo drumming and stuttering beats. Interestingly, as a New Yorker, the song captures a familiar sentiment that has come up lately in my life, especially as I inch my way into my 40s.
The recently released music video features Remi, Sensible J and Silent Jay baking cookies, goofing off and hanging out with their homies but underneath the mischief and comic antics is a more serious commentary. In fact, there’s the sense of each of the video’s subjects playing at being adults and not quite knowing how to do it properly; but if you truly consider it: no one really quite knows what to go about being an adult, they make it up as they go along.