Rap is one of the more theatrical genres in pop music, particularly on the mainstream side, but Ricci Bamboo doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles to get his point across to the audience in the new single “Papa.” Whether we’re looking at the song’s music video or listening to the track on its own, the weight of the narrative as it’s perceived from Ricci Bamboo’s perspective is never out of reach for the audience; truth be told, it’s the centerpiece of this single above every other detail here. “Papa” isn’t the patriarchal, self-important hip-hop of yesterday, but a yearning, thoughtful hip-hop of tomorrow.
Ricci Bamboo is careful to avoid pressing his vocal too hard in this mix, and there are a couple of moments where his hesitant execution develops an even stronger tension between the percussion and his verses (much to the pleasure of a critic like myself). He’s turning every different component of the music into an extension of his feelings, which is something a lot of his contemporaries and closest rivals in the underground have been struggling to do when they get into the studio. They can learn something from his example, especially given the success and buzz “Papa” is already accruing.
As usual, the underground beat is dominating the conversation for hip-hop at the moment, and I love the potential for further expressiveness that Ricci Bamboo is advertising in this single. He’s got so much heart, and he’s wearing all of it on his sleeve in this performance like the act of being vulnerable comes to him all too naturally. His willingness to be exposed sets him far apart from a lot of the other loud voices in rap right now, and although it’s anyone’s guess what he’ll choose to do with it next, I like what Ricci Bamboo has already accomplished with “Papa.”