Rejjie, also known as Alexander Anyaegbunam, pushes boundaries in his music, making a name for Irish Hip Hop in a relatively American dominated rap scene. His album Dear Annie is a beautiful eclectic mix of sounds and vibes, giving fans a real taste of his varied life. Rejjie hails from Dublin, Ireland but splits his time between London, Paris and New York. After last year’s critically acclaimed mixtape The Moon and You was released, the hype around Rejjie Snow has been unreal and eager fans have been waiting in anticipation for more music. It’s clear that his debut has succeeded in delivering this, Dear Annie has receiving an astounding five stars from NME.
Dear Annie kicks off with Hello, a fitting title for the first song that brings you on Rejjie’s journey of youth and love across 20 tracks. Guest appearances are heard intermittently throughout, from the likes of Dana Williams, Micah Freeman, Ebenezer and more. Tracks on Dear Annie are interrupted by skits of a late night radio show, which only heightens the personal feel of the album. Rejjie’s low melodic crooning fits perfectly with the concept of a late-night listening session. Whilst all of the songs are beautifully melded with chilled beats and jazzy melodies, the two that stand out for me are 23 and Mon Amor. My personal favourite 23 is a track that captures the complexities of love and being young and exploring what that means. Mon Amor has Rejjie singing in French, it’s a song that effortlessly exudes the elegance and essence of Paris. This timeless track could easily be played over old black and white films and not feel out of place at all.
Rejjie never disappoints with his live performances and his Bristol gig was electric. The atmosphere was already invigorated when I walked in, as support act Ebenezer hyped up the crowd. At around nine, Rejjie waltzed onstage to the opening crescendo of Hello. Seemingly unruffled by the sheer size and energy of the crowd, Rejjie exuded effortless cool; and his performance still managed to be high-spirited and animated as he danced and strolled across the stage. As well as peforming new tracks from the Dear Annie album, he also played classics like Blakkest Skn, All Around the World and 1992, much to the elation of his enraptured audience. At a short interval between songs, Rejjie said ‘yo I don’t know what to say between songs so I’m just gonna keep it real.' But it’s clear he didn’t need to say anything as he commanded attention with his presence alone; chants of ‘rejjie’ echoed around the sweltering, airless room at one point, he simply grinned and began chanting back ‘bristol.'
A series of more mellow tracks like Oh No! showcased Rejjie’s intoxicatingly languid rapping, enthralling the audience with a heady charm. Whilst the energetic Crooked Cops and Flexin effectively roused the voracious crowd. A unexpected high point was Rejjie’s captivating execution of The Ends which may be considered a lethargic track due to its monotonous, steady beat. This song live was anything but lethargic, Rejjie delivered an astonishingly charged performance. The only disappointment of the vibrant gig was the achingly obvious absence of new track 23, Rejjie’s decision to exclude this song from his set is confusing to say the least. 23 is perhaps the most popular single from his new album, after the Kaytranada-produced Egyptian Luvr of course. His set finished at ten fifteen, paling in comparison to a Leeds show I attended in 2017 in which he easily played a two hour set - Motion’s curfew was clearly limiting.
Cover Photography: Little World Music