The Cofields have been conjuring up a storm in the independent press over the past year, and it’s easy to understand why when getting a peek at their new single, “Royalty.” Non-virtuosic but ambitiously structured nonetheless, “Royalty” invites us to see the world through the lens of the optimistic eyes of Calvin and Kimberly Rice-Cofield, who call ‘em as they see ‘em without fail in this new studio dispatch. In either instance, the vocals are always as smoking as any of the melodies in this track are, and whether they’re being consumed alongside the visuals of the music video or simply on their own, the lyrics this duo submits here are absolutely some of the very best and most honest I’ve heard from this kind of act lately.
Almost nothing about “Royalty” fits into what I would call a modern, mainstream gospel model. There’s an old-school, classic hip-hop thrill inspired by the grinding of the groove, but despite their disposition in the mix, the beats never penetrate the surreal stylization of the vocal with their volatility. The bass is the steadiest hand on the table in this instance, but it doesn’t get as fair a share of the spotlight due to the quake of the percussion, which is easily one of my favorite elements in this song. The beat is as important to appreciating the lyrics as the rapping is, and that’s not as common as it used to be in gospel or hip-hop.
The rapping that Kimberly Rice-Cofield does in this song tells me that she could embrace a more streamlined compositional technique if she wanted and sound just as enticing as she does here. Both she and her husband have got such a diverse skillset to work with, and even though it isn’t being exploited to the extent that I would like it to be in future endeavors, there’s enough here to suggest that the greatest hits of this pair’s discography are still to come. There’s no need for them to rush back into the studio – if I were in their shoes, I would take my time drawing together as much of a creative nucleus as possible before making a follow-up to the statement that they’re making with this initial release and its accompanying music video.
You can search high and low throughout the indie rap universe this winter season, but you’re still not likely to find anything quite as unique as what The Cofields are serving up in the divinity-charged “Royalty.” One part praise for Jesus, another part tribute to their daughter, “Royalty” shows the world exactly who this couple is as an act, and whether mainstream critics are ready for it or not, they’re wearing the look they’ve fashioned for themselves here proudly. This is a duo that needs to be on everyone’s radar this February, and while they’re hardly a household name at the moment, it will be hard to imagine that staying the same as their music finds a home in the gospel radio realm this year.