At the tender age of 20, Dro Kenji has found himself in control of his own path in this music industry, all while working with some of the industry’s hottest hitmakers in Internet Money behind him. The South Carolina rapper has built his fan base by releasing a string of captivating singles and mixtapes on SoundCloud. The artist behind “KILL CUPID (Feat. $NOT)” shows promise with his latest 15 song project. Bolstered by production from some buzzing producers in Taz Taylor, Nick Mira, Census, and more, Dro Kenji looks to expand his impressive catalog.
This young artist is full of talent, shown through his melodic bars and smooth approach to storytelling. With songs such as “VANISH” and “FINDERS KEEPERS (Feat. SCOREY & INTERNET MONEY),” Dro Kenji changes up the vibes of his music from the bright sounds of his breakout project “F*CK YOUR FEELINGS” to a darker and ambient mood in the form of “WITH OR WITHOUT YOU.”
According to Dro Kenji, “WITH OR WITHOUT YOU” is all about accepting oneself and staying true.
It’s about being you, and being comfortable with being you with or without other people telling you what you can and cannot do. Every human being has different goals, has different concepts of what happiness looks…because of that, people will judge you – the world will try to change you, but you must continue to move in your own direction…I hope people learn how to make their life their own
His words are genuine and serve as an example of how to remain grounded, even when fame comes into the picture. With such a drastic rise through the industry in just over a year, it’s a pleasant sight to see a good head on someone so young.
Although the overall project is well put together, there are a few songs that really stick out. “TIGHTROPE” is the first of these tracks and has Dro Kenji showing off his harmonic, layering abilities. The switching melodies throughout the track and varying flows really lend themselves well to the Taz Taylor, Census, Georgie, and OVRCZ produced track. Fitting along with the concept of short, but high-quality music, “TIGHTROPE” is a nice example of focusing primarily on the feelings a song gives you and sticking with a concept rather than being lost in verbiage.
Being one of the relatively longer songs in the project, “USED2KNOW” finds Dro Kenji pouring out his soul regarding past traumas over this piano-led instrumental. This Census led track sees production help from 1st Class, Taz Taylor, ZAY and Spaceman.
“Feel your heart start to grow cold, don’t know where to go.”
Dro Kenji takes this opportunity to show his vulnerability.
“Won’t you save your love for me? You never was the type. Do not remember clearly, I was very high. She said I’m always very high. When you broke my heart in pieces, had to freeze that shit in ice.”
Kenji delves deep in his emotions to bring us a relatable track that will have listeners connecting with him on a different level. Everyone has experienced heartbreak, but Dro Kenji does an excellent job of layering a well-structured song and catchy lyrics over the emotional story. Listening to this track a few times over is necessary to get the real feeling behind it.
The final track I would like to highlight would have to be “NEED YOU RIGHT NOW,” a laidback ballad featuring Seattle’s rising star, Highway. Dro Kenji and Highway team up to spit some confident bars in an unorthodox soft tone. The two rappers work well together on this track produced by John Luther, twoprxducers, and Taz Taylor. The ambience of this song almost puts you in a trance and makes time speed up for a bit. Just listening to track, you don’t realize that it’s almost 3 minutes long. We hear Dro Kenji doing a good job on the background vocals and highlights behind his main verse and chorus.
“WITH OR WITHOUT YOU” is a well-done project coming out of Dro Kenji’s camp and we are excited to see where his career goes. The growth in his music is obvious, with not only his bars improving, but also seeing a big jump in his melodic technique. The young artist has a lot ahead of him and Vuulm is ready for it.