Indebted to the fuzzy grime of thunderous garage rock yet mostly made up of a furious hip-hop flow and decadent country harmonies that could win us over all on their own, it’s initially a little difficult to find a category for Billy D Rice’s new single “The One I Love” to exist in, but I think that was the point here. Where so many artists spend the better part of their careers trying to fit in with the masses, Rice is one who wants to follow his own path – hell, chart his own course – as both a songwriter and a performer, and he makes as much known in “The One I Love.”
The vocal exchange we find in this track between Rice and his counterpart in rapper Brian Bristow is pure fireworks and definitely intriguing enough to hold the interest of both country and hip-hop fans, but it’s not the only alluring element in this mix. Honestly, the spotlight is spread out pretty evenly across the grind of the guitars, the tunefulness of the hook and the searing intensity of the rapping – even the synchronized hip-swinging of Msbluepandora contributes to the vibe in the music video. It’s the full-package, and it’s coming from an antiestablishment player ready for anything you throw his way.
If this is on par with what Billy D Rice is going to be producing throughout his career, we’re going to be seeing his name in the press a lot more often in 2021. This is a big time for the new wave of country players looking to plant their flag in a tattered and artistically divided Nashville, and judging from the ambitiousness of this debut project, I would expect to see and hear even more impressive content from Rice before the year has come to a conclusion.