“Back Ends” by Rico Twang
Ascending into focus with a melody fit for a heavenly slow jam, it’s difficult to engage the intensity of the ensuing groove we’re soon to be met with in the new single “Back Ends” by Rico Twang at the beginning of the track. It isn’t until we press forward in the song and our leading man begins to rap in a half-melodic, half-stoic tone that we’re able to feel the bones of the rhythm begin to click into place, but a very evident mood has already been conjured before us. In “Back Ends,” Rico Twang doesn’t want to recycle the same hip-hop personality we’ve all come to know in the past five years of steady success for cloud rappers around the States; he’s giving us a piece of himself, and it’s a surprisingly vulnerable look for any rookie to say the least.
The vocal delivers a natural warmth to the harmony that I wouldn’t normally expect out of a hip-hop single, but given the trend we saw developing at last Halloween’s Rolling Loud, I can’t say I’m completely shocked to see a strain of neo-soul taking hold in the sound of a young player like this one. In some ways, Rico Twang is presenting a lush cocktail made up of equal parts Trippie Redd and The Kid Laroi in this performance, stamping his own unique trademark on the styling of the lyrics while still giving up something well-fitting with the current trend in underground rap this year. It’s important to know the pulse of a contemporary aesthetic, but to bend it in this way takes a lot of skill (and bravery).
Because of how he’s hitting this hook, Rico Twang never has to force any of his verses on the audience – truthfully he’s able to employ the absence of texture on the bassline as an element of atmosphere, suggesting the grip of a cold reality none of us (the lyrical protagonist included) would want to be faced with. Both the back and front ends of life and the situations we find ourselves in can be stressful, but both poetically and sonically we discover a player in this piece unwilling to sit back while the anxiety builds to explosive levels. He’s sewing catharsis into the stitching of every tense moment here, which is compelling for what it says about his disposition and what it can inspire in the listener.
I definitely see some good things coming Rico Twang’s way if he sticks with this present artistic path, and if you give “Back Ends” a spin this March I think you’re going to know and appreciate what I’m talking about. “Back Ends” isn’t as bottom-heavy as its title would imply to music nerds like myself; it’s actually pretty light and sporty for a modern hip-hop release, and it bears a likeness to the soul of an emerging generation without sounding like a total copy of someone else’s sound. That alone is a difficult balance to strike, but for Rico Twang, it seems to come second nature.