Music

‘Portrait of a Man’ album from Rayre is rich in elastic flows and deep cuts

Rayre strips away the features and collabs for an album that is entirely his own. His story, his sound, his portrait.

Rapper and lyricist Rayre moved from California to Washington in 2017. The artist started from scratch in the new environment, and in doing so, discovered himself. Free from “peer pressures” and “responsibilities”, Rayre built a platform that he could stand his two feet on independently.

His album Portrait of a Man looks back on the journey to this point, his current experiences, and ideas for the future. Let’s dive in.

Rayre

Rayre is a cinematic artist — the timeline is crucial. That’s why opener Now I’m Back is such a perfect introduction to the artist’s story. Strings swell, and ambient keys build anticipation as the lyrics set the context efficiently. “I wanted it to be sonically big and theatrical”, he comments. When the beat drops, you’ll fall victim to the head-bop routine.

 

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Play It On Vinyl is another example of Rayre’s ear for sonic space. His raps look back on better days, filling the beat out with effective call and response vocals. The hook “play it on vinyl, decision is final” is salient but plays second fiddle to his wordplay, in which Rayre hilariously details multiple Eminem references.

God’s Plan (not to be confused with Drake’s track of the same name), blends confessions with political commentary, making for one of the most compelling, detailed cuts on the record. Overarching themes of family, love, and loyalty are explored throughout the tracklist, like on the emotional Over The Edge. The lyrics are unique to Rayre’s life situation, but these are universal feelings, so there’s a line for everyone to relate to.

 

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The calm and collected In My Palace bookends the LP, sonically contrasting to the upbeat opener. “After the introduction and learning about my story, this is the takeaway. This is who I’m striving to be every day. Every action is coloured by the intent and after enough time… paints the portrait of a man”, the artist comments.  If you love self-reflection, wordplay, and elastic flows, Rayre is the up-and-coming rapper to keep on your radar.

Stream Portrait of a Man here: