Ravyn Lenae breathes life back into the fluttering, love influenced disco sound of the 1970’s, bringing it to a modern age with the help of one of the greatest music innovators in popular music of today. Lenae and Steve Lacy, who exclusively handled the production on Crush EP are a powerhouse couple that works together to create a bright, but dated feel.
Lenae has a voice that resembles smooth, soft silk that is showcased on the opening track “Sticky.” A love-letter to the church-esque organs and fluttering guitar that Lacy handles in a masterful sense, the clasping hi-hats and soon bumping percussion gives Lenae a substantial platform and something that can reflect well into how her style stays as an adaptable and shifting centerfold of grace. Her voice at just nineteen is able to provide a new emotional attachment to the “Let’s play, let’s pretend I could have my way. What you gonna say if I ever walk away? Let’s play, let’s pretend you could treat me fair.” Lenae rattles in a cheerful, lively, and almost dance heavy flow; Crush EP is smooth and continually memorable for the way that Steve Lacy’s incredibly nimble producing hands are able to flow with Ravyn Lenae’s vocal performance.
The two are a real treasure trove of talent and can shift or manipulate what soul music sounds like. It is vibrant and colorful while keeping the idea of that glimmer of smooth transitions and production that transforms Crush EP into different, adaptable stages. Lenae continues to surprise with how her voice can reach comfortably into unknown bounds of notes that feel unreachable.
It is shown well on “Computer Luv” which has a feature from Steve Lacy as he delivers some backing vocals and with Christopher Allan Smith who is the percussionist from Lacy’s extended project, The Internet. Lenae explains, “When will I meet you, I’m down to see you. I wanna see you right now, it’s been a year now, I shed a tear down. My face dripping, drown my feelings into the smoke tanks, I wonder what is next?” Lacy works simultaneously with Lenae as they speak together on an instrumental that is minimal when compared to some of the other instrumentals on Crush EP. The way that the two can work hand-in-hand to create these soundscapes is still substantial and continually interesting time after time.
Even on the final moments with “4 Leaf Clover,” Lacy and Lenae work together to boost each other up and use their lyrics to act like a conversation. Lenae starts the line with “Hey we are meant to be, one day you will see. Where oh where is my four leaf clover,” to where Lacy joins in, “What I gotta do to give into you, I just don’t want what we got to be over.” It is lovely, but tells a relatable and moving story over the boom-bap percussive beats with synthesizers that shine and take Crush EP into the final, fading moments.
Ravyn Lenae creates beauty with the help of Lacy and the two together is a combination that seems to work in immaculate fashion. The way the two work and can boost each other up is a teamwork that the world did not know everyone needed.