At the centre of the R&B group The Internet, Syd has finally released her debut solo album, Fin. As part of the collective Odd Future alongside the likes of Frank Ocean and Tyler, The Creator, Syd and The Internet have gone to release three albums including 2015’s Grammy-nominated Ego Death, spearheaded by their Kaytranada-produced hit single, ‘Girl’. Her solo material has consequently been highly anticipated by fans and critics alike.
With likes of HazeBanga and Hit-Boy on production, Syd is able to draw on neo-soul, ‘90s R&B, and hip-hop influences, which are tied eloquently together into well-orchestrated completion. Fin is far from abstract, and no track act as fillers. The listener is able to understand who Syd is, and what to expect from her, as she draws on and challenges the traditional R&B formula.
Opening track ‘Shake Them Off’ is gritty, providing a dark 90’s New York rap sound similar to that of Mobb Deep and Nas, where she boasts about them “sleeping on [her talent]” with her soft vocal takes. ‘Know’, the second track where Syd talks about a secret affair, is perhaps an ode to ‘Special Affair’ on Ego Death. ‘Know’ throws us back to the days of Timbaland and Aaliyah collaborations, with airy vocals served up with obscure sound effects and scattered beats. Syd embodies her sensuality in numbers such as ‘Drown In It Interlude’ and ‘Body’, tracks she describes as “baby-making anthems of 2017”. With rigid attitudes in the R&B and hip-hop community, it’s refreshing to hear romantic songs sung from one woman to another. Syd is a catalyst and a pioneer.
Fin ends on ‘Insecurities’, which addresses how she chooses to stay in toxic relationships on the basis of love; a scenario relatable to far too many. It’s about wanting to leave and “packing [her] bags”, but thanking her own insecurities for preventing it. It leaves the album on a climax, as it’s a contrast to themes earlier explored, and may potentially lead onto her next project.
Fin displays Syd’s diverse vocal style, confident in both singing and rapping. The beats on the record were carefully selected, accompanied by her dreamlike songwriting skills. Arguably, its title, Fin, is a juxtaposition against itself; it’s just her beginning. From her first solo release, there’s clearly a promising future for Tha Kyd.By Alesha Nawabalinwa