Deige Releases A “Letter to My Past”

There’s been a lot of debate over whether or not you can embody emo elements in a straightforward rap single lately, but here to settle things once and for all this season is rapper Deige, whose new single “Letter to My Past” has much of the hard-hitting elements of traditional hip-hop mixed with componentry more familiar to the genre’s melodic offshoot of the 2020s. There’s an intimacy to this performance that extends itself well beyond the setting created by the lyrics and spills into the instrumental aspects of the song, ensuring that every charged beat is carrying as much emotion as any of the words would.

As much as I love a good bass-driven single in rap, there’s much more being produced by the presence of the guitar parts here than there is anything on the backend of the mix. This surprisingly doesn’t leave the groove in “Letter to My Past” sounding underwhelming, but instead makes the track as a whole sound a lot more physical. This is mostly because the drums and bass aren’t being left with the job of carrying all the sonic depth in this performance, which would have been the case in a more conventionally arranged piece of hip-hop.

While there is no swing to the beat here, there doesn’t need to be for us to connect with the tempo as it’s unfolding under Deige’s vocal delivery. He’s got confidence but lacks the saccharine swagger as it’s been developed in the mainstream rap world over the past twenty years, which further alludes to how sensitive a poet he can be when there’s no pressure for his sound to fit inside of a box someone else happened to create. Scene politics are nowhere to be found in the subtext of the story being told in “Letter to My Past,” which simply is not the case with the vast majority of rap singles you hear right now.

Hip-hop’s incredible underground keeps turning up the heat when we’re not expecting anything more creative to come out of the genre’s legendary indie circuit, and I love how well Deige has been able to blend his influences together for a performance like this one. As its title implies, “Letter to My Past” is more or less an insular document of its creator, which despite not usually being the kind of track to go viral is already doing quite well with anyone who hears it this September.

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