RAHBI - GoldenChild: Trimester 1

RAHBI
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Underground climber, Rahbi, blends glam pop, techno and funk for a fun romp in electro-soul. Long a high octane ball of flammable energy on club stages across these United States, Rahbi has been indie soul’s answer to Rick James and David Bowie. Provocative and slightly lascivious, when Rahbi hits the stage, he comes to party and party hard. Lighting the way as the first of three EPs in Rahbi’s latest musical gestation, GoldenChild: Trimester 1  (clocking in at four songs -- really three with one interlude), borrows heavily from the rhythmic synth pop of such 80s era bands as Klymaxx and Vanity 6 to deliver its uptempo grooves.

Underground climber, Rahbi, blends glam pop, techno and funk for a fun romp in electro-soul. Long a high octane ball of flammable energy on club stages across these United States, Rahbi has been indie soul’s answer to Rick James and David Bowie. Provocative and slightly lascivious, when Rahbi hits the stage, he comes to party and party hard. Lighting the way as the first of three EPs in Rahbi’s latest musical gestation, GoldenChild: Trimester 1  (clocking in at four songs -- really three with one interlude), borrows heavily from the rhythmic synth pop of such 80s era bands as Klymaxx and Vanity 6 to deliver its uptempo grooves.

The ATL dirty boy has come a long way from his R&B boy group beginnings as an adolescent member of the LaFace signed 4th Avenue. Continuing a trend begun in 2006 with Rahbi The E.P. and the 2008 Rahbi Raw Live, Rahbi further redefines his image as Atlanta’s glam divo with the church vocals but freaky funk sensibilities. Eschewing any ballads, the first trimester of the full length debut album Goldenchild, the Fun 0+ EP, is strictly a jam fest. Accordingly, the themes are sexual and sweat-inducing in nature with compositions that offer plenty of bold transitions and unconventional movements. Lyrically difficult to discern amidst the theatrical electronic playground Rahbi’s producers have developed for his outsized personality, the clashes of synthesized sounds and driving rhythms somehow manage to overcome the challenges in hearing what the funkster is actually singing. This isn’t really music to over-think, just dance. 

The single “Rollercoaster,” the standout from Goldenchild, is produced by PJ Morton, a star recording artist in his own right and a member of the Maroon 5 band. With an obvious metaphor at its heart, “Rollercoaster” boasts the EP’s clearest lead vocal, most infectious of the melodies presented, and awe-inspiring background vocals. Once an alto and soprano back-up singer for Donnie during his Colored Section tour, this natural tenor can sky scrape run with the likes of Tonex aka BSlade. On the intricately arranged “ClubKid” and the Prince and The Revolution inspired “RipGirl,” Rahbi attempts to best the prolific BSlade, coming after that underground artist’s heretofore unchallenged throne as the effete glam rocker of R&B. Rahbi even incorporates a vogueing ballroom scene chant at the end of “RipGirl” in ways BSlade has taken to doing in his recent house music releases.

Not too serious, but a compelling calling card for the remaining trimesters’ birth arrivals over the next year. With daring arrangements and jaw-dropping live performances, Rahbi maintains an interesting and promising figure for an independent soul movement that is constantly pushing the boundaries of soul fan expectations. Still, some cleaner mixes and more restrained productions on par with “Rollercoaster” would go a long way to opening more audiences up for embracing Rahbi’s special brand of party. Recommended.  

By L. Michael Gipson

 

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