‘From Me to Me’ is a ten-track album from artist ‘Ren’. It’s an intimate album that deals with a lot of issues such as Ren’s thoughts and feelings about himself, his community, and the United States in general. I have rarely reviewed an album that has been as consistent, substantiated, and complete as ‘From Me to Me’. It was an absolute joy diving deep into the mind of Ren and dissecting his dense verses.
‘Code Switch’ kicks off the album. Instantly, I found his production quality to be stellar. Employing modern beats and appropriate sampling, Ren raps about being in his lane. There’s some clever wordplay that is thrown around that was an absolute joy to hear. His earthy voice delivered the rawness that seemed to match with his rhyme schemes and the issues that he was rapping about. Spectators is a solid conceptual and introspective track that talks about critics being spectators while the real ones play the game. Again, Ren flexes his penchant for skilled lyricism over a subdued bass and strong instrumental. In Prosper¸ Ren talks about the black community and how its roots need to be strengthened for it to prosper and flourish. For me, this was a gem of a concept as Ren points out that prosperity can be subjective and a reflection of society in itself. I was struck by Ren’s dissection of complex and nuanced topics. Shine flows with its bass-heavy instrumental. Ren raps about how systemic racism is often disregarded by people saying ‘this is life’. He is eager to be a positive light in a world of darkness. Being a ray of hope and a male role model is central to his identity. I found this track to be inspirational.
Lavish Ambiguity was where things get heated. Although the instrumental has a strong jazz influence with soulful background samples, it is a strong track with an equally grim subject matter. In the first part, Ren raps about being a self-made man and making it on his own. He then alludes to systemic racism and discord within the black community. His argument stands strong. It is hard to excel in an environment where the odds are stacked against you. To top it all off, he alludes to the wave of white supremacy that is sowing even more problems in an already fragmented America. Unhealthy Obsession has my most favorite beat thanks to its lo-fi inspired instrumental which makes the track sound moody. It’s a motivational track where (to my pleasure) Ren lets the beat ride out. Again is the first track with a listed feature. The subject matter touches on issues such as doubting oneself and battling with low self-esteem. The overall aesthetic is darker. Ren infuses clever wordplay (‘trip with baggage’ was quite the bar) to elaborate on his struggles with anxiety and depression. I appreciate him showing this side of himself. Ronnie’s feature brings back the element of hope through its optimistic and light hook. Selfless is the next track that talks about having to be selfless after a lifetime of being selfish. In essence, it is a conceptual track of emotional growth. Sally’s melodic hook and Ren’s tight verse made the track for me. I was impressed how he could go into so much detail and depth with every topic he touches. Never Get Away is another song that talks about mental health. Ren raps about wrestling with self-doubt. Overall the track boasts a darker aesthetic like the previous two. Therapist’s Couch is the last track of this project. Here the instrumental takes the front seat. Ren elaborates on how rapping is therapeutic for him as it lets him channel out his energy, thoughts, and feelings. His verse is abundant in rich metaphors and intricate symbolism. The Fresh Prince reference at the end was the perfect way to close the track.
All in all, I enjoyed listening to this album and I hope that it gets the praise that it deserves. From Me to Me will be released on the 28th of February.