Rising Melbourne MC star Ry (aka Ryan Egan) has recently dropped a “feel-good” single, Gimme That (featuring Brisbane R&B singer Jordan de la Cruz), from his forthcoming Ivory Coast EP. The song should resonate with – and uplift – those experiencing modern anxiety and insecurity.
“It’s a bit of a personal message to myself to just chill out a bit and let things take their course – you know, as an artist, I stress out a bit,” the personable Egan admits, during a break from his part-time job. “Sometimes the ultimate high is letting go and feeling free and carefree.”
Gimme That is a throwback to the ’90s’ anthemic shiny suit hip hop (think: The Notorious BIG) that Egan recorded with his main producer Hamley. To his delight, the Queenslander, who’s likewise collaborated with Allday, recently transplanted to Melbourne.
Nonetheless, Egan’s video-clip is a commentary on today’s digital (youth) culture. Intercut with footage showing Egan and de la Cruz performing, are scenes of listeners responding to Gimme That online. “‘Cause it’s such a feel-good song, we really wanted to channel how people react, or interact with each other, nowadays. It’s almost a bit of an ode to the role the internet plays in our lives, ’cause we’re definitely the webcam generation.
“At the end of the day, the song wouldn’t have happened without the internet – like, all the artists on the song met through that. So we just kinda wanna show how one thing leads to another online and how a song is received nowadays that way.”
Hip hop heads might spot a certain local celebrity. “We’ve got a cameo from now Grammy-winner M-Phazes in there,” Egan enthuses, referring to the beatmaker’s involvement in Eminem’s Grammy-winning best rap album The Marshall Mathers LP2. “It was just by chance I asked him to be in the video a few weeks ago. He liked the song, so he was like, ‘Yeah, for sure.'”
Egan had Bluetack Studios’ Luke Goodall, the guy behind his doco web series Good Things Work Out, direct. “They do a lot of light-hearted comedy stuff on the web – that’s why I picked them for this video, just ’cause they could really emphasise that lightheartedness and [the] ‘Hey, be yourself’ sort of thing.”
Watch: Ry – Gimme That (Feat. Jordan De La Cruz)
The industrious Egan had intended to release an album after 2014’s rock-edged single Circles , but he’s changed the game-plan. “I was a bit ambitious and thought I could just put an album out, [but then] I thought, ‘Hang on, maybe I can just put an EP out instead’ and wait ’til I build my fanbase a bit more and people get to know me a bit more and then they can have a full body of work.”
Ivory Coast will also contain last year’s Drakey “warm-up” Lightning In A Bottle – a track that revealed “a different side” to Egan. “I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t just a feel-good songmaker.”
The MC cut Lightning In A Bottle at “a really stressful time.” “I’d just lost my job and stuff and I’ve never felt that sort of consumption – like stress and anxiety – before.”
The triple j Unearthed featured artist belongs to a fresh wave of Australian hip hoppers who are creating a more fluid, unconventional and individualistic music. “It’s a really exciting time right now. The internet’s just opened everyone up to so many different genres and styles and sounds. Everything’s so accessible now that you don’t really need to limit yourself to just one genre any more.
“And everyone’s so connected – you can work with people who aren’t hip hop producers and make a hip hop song, or rap over a song that isn’t hip hop. It’s really cool.
“I mean, the other day I was speaking to the drummer from the band Alpine [Phil Tucker] – ’cause I used to work with him and we’ve kept in touch – and he mentioned he was working on an EP and he’d love to get me to feature on a song. He said, ‘It won’t be rap, but it’ll fit a rapper.’
“I think that kinda sums up our generation: we don’t really have any boundaries, or we don’t really put ourselves in a genre. Whatever works is more [about] what we’re comfortable with.”
Unexpectedly, Egan raves about Grimes’ avant-trap Go with Blood Diamonds, and US chillwaver Washed Out (“I’d actually fan-out if I met him”). He also applauds Kanye West for ushering in introspective hip hop.
MCs such as Egan don’t feel they always have to floss, or front, when hustling. “People are just a bit more open to opening up,” he suggests. “Maybe that’s what being ‘real’ is nowadays – just being upfront and honest and talking about that sort of stuff.”
Ry’s ‘Ivory Coast’ EP is due out soon via Inertia Access. ‘Gimme That’ is out now on iTunes.
Listen: Ry – Lightning In A Bottle