By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
A hail of bullets greets Baltimore MC Ryeisha "Rye Rye" Berrain in the club. Well, the crowd hails the sound of bullets. There's nothing outright dangerous about a Rye Rye performance, and only her mike is packin' heat.
But her music holds your ear's attention like a stickup. It features a mesmerizing military feel, with its rapid-fire clip-clip, the sound of popped-off rounds included between the beats' sheet-metal clang. At other times, the 18-year-old demands you to "throw your fuckin' sets up!" Whether you're out lookin' for some punchin' or hunchin', Rye Rye and her crew have an arsenal of tracks loaded, cocked, and aimed to help the club get ignorant.
In particular, the track re-introducing Rye Rye to the world outside of East Baltimore is "Bang," produced by B-more's Blaqstarr. The producer first featured her on the independent single "Shake It to the Ground," issued in 2007 on journeyman DJ/producer Diplo's Mad Decent label. That was an appropriate home for the release, since Illadelph-based Diplo has become somewhat of a global emissary for "Baltimore club" music. The sound is a 20-year-old bastard child of Chicago house, deep tribal garage, and Miami bass that has been bangin' up the Mid-Atlantic.
Blaqstarr, a major player in the Baltimore scene since the early '00s, heard Rye Rye was a club MC on the come-up through her sister. After auditioning on Blaqstarr's answering machine, Rye Rye went with him to the studio at Diplo's. And from there she met Sri Lanka-born, London-bred rhythm globalizing MC M.I.A., who subsequently invited her to tour internationally in the summer between her junior and senior years of high school. Coincidence turned into providence, and Rye Rye helped introduce the world firsthand to B-more's syncopated swagger, showin' London is not the only place that gets grimy.
"She's got mad energy; she's like a pit bull," M.I.A. said in an online promo for "Bang." M.I.A. also directed the video for "Bang" after signing Rye Rye to her Interscope imprint N.E.E.T. And what Rye Rye brings to N.E.E.T. is a pack of club/electro/ghetto funk/fidget house riddims from producers including Blaqstarr, Diplo, Egyptian Lover, and Sinden. They've all collaborated with her on the upcoming full-length Go! Pop! Bang!
Baltimore club is equally the sound of run-down streets and runnin' the streets, a booty-bass block party that's rated neXXXt for fans of leavin' it all on the dance floor. Rye Rye packs a full cartridge of that musical aspiration, perspiration, and excitation.