It wasn’t long ago that Raury exploded onto the national scene with his eclectic blend of soul, hip-hop, and folk music. After releasing his 2014 debut, Indigo Child, the wunderkind kept his momentum steady with features on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and FIFA 16 soundtracks, along with recognition from outlets as varied as XXL Magazine and the BBC. It was a short yet impressive list of accomplishments for a teenager who was barely signed into a record deal.
Unfortunately, Raury’s first studio release, All We Need, was a disjointed attempted at combining too many genres. The singer, songwriter, and rapper had something of an identity crisis throughout the album; in some cases on single tracks. Since the record, however, he’s been lying low while releasing a number of singles and features that suggest he’s honing in on his talents.
Raury’s latest single, “Like a Star,” is solid example of the artist smoothing out the bumps in his lyrical woodwork. The beginning of the track is a soothing mix of sparse piano chord hits and a subtle mix of whimsical melodies dancing in the background. During the latter parts of the song, producer and trumpeter Donnie Trumpet channels his inner Miles Davis with the mellow tone of his cornet horn, adding a cosmic vibe reminiscent of something you’d hear from an SZA track. Meanwhile, Raury does what Raury does best by working in his style of layered and introspective lyricism.
The second half of the song scales back the production as Raury switches into rap mode. It’s a short-lived but worthy attempt at rapping and, although I’m biased towards his talents as a singer, you have to commemorate his efforts to grow. He’s able to switch cadences a few times without the transitions feeling forced, and the emphasis of him rapping adds to the song rather than distracting. Ultimately, this is a smooth track to roll up, lay out, and zone out to.