First Thoughts: Ric Flo – The Rise of the Phoenix

Somewhere amidst the juggling of creative outlets and community projects, Rapper and Creative Director Ric Flo managed to find the time to record and release ‘Rise of the Phoenix’. Taking lessons learnt from past projects and personal experiences, Ric Flo (who only recently released an album with his rap trio Jungle Brown) has self-released his first solo project in 6 years, hinting that we’ll be hearing much more of him this year.

‘Rise of the Phoenix’ sees Ric Flo team up with several producers to experiment on his latest recordings, merging a variety of styles, genres and vocal arrangements in an attempt to firmly establish himself as a solo artist. The project starts with mellow pop like beats that layer synths around a thumping kick and bass, allowing harmonious and optimistic vocals like ‘so much in store’ and ‘see past the bullshit’ to float through the background. It’s clear from the first couple of tracks that the rapper is both accepting and grateful for what he’s managed to achieve, setting the tone (at least that’s what I thought) for the rest to come.

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The EP then arrives at Major, a surprising shift in pace as the project is injected with a grime influenced track that cleverly showcases Ric’s flow. The muffled drumbeat, distant percussion and momentum in the lyricism firm their place and prove how diverse the rapper can be. However, the EP then deviates in style again to finish strong with ‘Therapy’ and ‘Fam‘, in what feels like Ric’s most comfortable position on the project. Returning to his hip-hop roots with a groovy bassline and wavy keys that flow through a boom bap beat – the effortless emotiveness of his bars really rings true here. The clear references to personal experiences provide a fantastically intimate end to an EP that highlights how far he’s come since A Boy Called Ric.

You can listen and purchase Ric Flo new EP, Rise of the Phoenix here: