I first heard Raury sometime last year, I watched the video for God’s Whisper and was just sold, by the general aesthetic almost as much as the music. This kid is so different to the kinds of artists we’re seeing emerge from Atlanta right now, the straw hat, open shirt and general ‘Of Mice and Men’ vibe he has going on – but also his spirituality (I mean, the mixtape is called Indigo Child…). He’s even releasing music videos containing black history 101 lessons – not even in his twenties yet and he’s educating us on racial issues in perfectly understated ways.
For a 19 year old, Raury comes across ridiculously confident. His music and success is the greatest indication of that; emerging from rap dominant Atlanta amongst artists like 2 Chainz, Migos and Gucci Mane with what’s essentially folk music, is bold and refreshing. This confidence is reflected on stage in the same way, his body language dramatic – practically peacocking around and dominating his space.
Raury opened the show with Devil’s Whisper, the track that juxtaposes his earlier single, God’s Whisper. Its first verse imitates the Devil trying to manipulate him which quite clearly means a lot to Raury judging from the clout of the performance. He played this, Cigarette Song, Fly and God’s Whisper x2. I have absolutely no complaints vocally, he sounded spot on even when he was verging on out-of-breath from jumping around so much.
The last gig I wrote about, I said how great it was to see Little Simz supporting and couldn’t wait to see her again. Lucky for me, I noticed her arrive at the venue but just assumed she was just watching with the rest of us. Then mid performance Raury excitedly brings her out as a surprise and joined the crowd to watch her. Another co-sign by another international artist (previously Mos Def) I love the earnt attention Simz is getting right now and apparently so did the rest of the crowd.
As much as I did enjoy all of it, there was something a little underwhelming about it as a whole. He didn’t play all the songs and there aren’t exactly that many, in fact he only played about four + Simz performance. Though, Amor is my favourite track and I didn’t get to hear it, so maybe I’m just sulking about that – it was still a really strong performance and a great venue for it at The Village Underground.
Photography by Maya Kellermann