TOFU AND WHISKEY Rye Rye went underground for a blip there. Discovered at 15 in a Baltimore club by Blaqstarr, then later introduced and signed to MIA’s Interscope imprint, N.E.E.T. Recordings, the burgeoning dancer, colorful fashion icon, and hip-hop artist seemed destined for immediate stardom. Then she got pregnant, and her debut album, originally slated for release in 2009, was delayed.
After a great many guest spots and collaborations, she came roaring back solo in 2012 with the release of that debut, Go! Pop! Bang!, and an acting gig in the film remake of 21 Jump Street. She popped up again in 2013 with her spring-released track “After Party” off casually impending mixtape RYEde or Die, and this June as a guest star on Asher Roth’s “Actin Up” (which later ended up also including Justin Bieber and Chris Brown).
She’ll be back in the Bay Area this week, after swinging through Oakland as the opener for Scissor Sisters last year at the Fox. This Hard French after party with Micahtron, however, should be a much more intimate, Rye Rye-centric event (Sat/3, 9pm, $20. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF. www.publicsf.com)
The 22-year-old’s style is bold and her voice positively bursts with energy and sonic Funfetti on tracks like the aforementioned frenzied dance single “After Party,” which includes call-backs to both MIA and Missy Elliott (whom she calls her main inspirations, in addition to Kanye West). She’s equally tough and confident on aggressively fun songs like Go! Pop! Bang!‘s “Dance.” And in the video for tender club hit “Boom Boom,” also off Go! Pop! Bang! — which samples the ’90s Vengaboys’ pop hit “Boom Boom Boom” — Rye Rye stars in a live action video game, showcasing both her dance skills and multihued lavender, sky blue, and pink bangs. Plus, she’s been known to tear up the dancefloor in person, at her own shows.
Yet on the phone, she’s quiet, coy, and talks in a girlish tone. Though she does mention several times that she’s a generally shy person, so this likely accounts for the tiny voice I hear whispering through the phone line from a hot day in Baltimore. She talks to me while watching cartoons with her young daughter, who she says likes her mom’s songs and already dances to them. “She knows it all,” Rye Rye says.
In talking about her own early days, as a teen going out with her older sister, Rye Rye says hip-hop was king, but there was some club music and R&B at the spots they’d hit up. At the time, she was in a group that used to dance all over Baltimore, which is what led to her making her own music. Fortuitously, her sister was friends with Blaqstarr, and she met him in a club then later rapped on his answering machine. “I saw him in the club that night, and he asked me to spit it for him and I was like, being shy so I told him no. But we started working in the studio together then eventually met MIA and Diplo.”
Those sessions led to her first mixtape, and eventually, Go! Pop! Bang! For RYEde or Die, she’s still in the midst of working on new tracks, but says she’s taking her time on this one because she’s not quite sure the direction she wants to go in just yet. “I’m deciding if I want to base it on things I deal with, you know? So I’m just still writing on it, trying to plan it out.”
In between writing new tracks and taking her daughter to the pool (her favorite spot this summer), Rye Rye says she’d also be open to more acting gigs, after enjoying her brief stint on the 21 Jump Street set. She got hooked up with the part when MIA told her the directors of the film were fans of her music and wanted her number, then pulled her in for an audition in LA with Jonah Hill, without a script. She and Jonah just riffed in front of casting directors, and she was picked for the role. The casual sentence that eventually ended up being her most memorable moment in the film? “Meanwhile you two were standing around, finger-popping each other’s assholes.” She says it dressed as a cheerleader with bleached bangs, putting emphasis on the word “popping,” and somehow manages to make the line sound cute.
Similar to how MIA’s “Paper Planes” later became synonymous with Pineapple Express — a track on which Rye Rye also contributed — the 21 Jump Street film theme was a bouncy electro-pop club banger by Rye Rye and Esthero.
Now, the rapper is courting meetings and looking ahead to some sporadic gigs until a proper tour at the end of the year, but says she isn’t too concerned about the future. “Everything for me is always just kind out of the blue,” she says. “You know I just go with the flow.”
As first reported by the Bay Bridged, Different Fur Studio owner and engineer Patrick Brown and Robert Pera have come together to release a beat-heavy electro hip-hop album under the name WOOF. The record, Thrill of it All, is the debut LP from the duo, and was released a couple of weeks back on Bandcamp. It began as an instrumental record, then grew to include guest vocals handpicked by the duo from a broad reach of zeitgeist-y rappers and emcees including locals like Nanosaur, A-1, and Richie Cunning, along with Mykki Blanco, Mistah F.A.B., and Chicago MC Show You Suck. There’s also a Matrixxman remix of the song “Pretend,” which features Bird Call. woofbeats.bandcamp.com.
Experimental electronic producer Al Lover has been quoted as saying “the psych music of today is what the producers of tomorrow will sample.” So the local music-maker recently cut out the middle man, and went straight to the source, creating his own tripped out electro-psych tracks. That meant collaborating with Tim Presley aka White Fence on this month’s seven-inch “Snake Hands,” released through the UK’s PNKSLM Records, which is Lover’s first ever solo vinyl release. (Note that White Fence also has a show coming up Aug. 7 at the Rickshaw Stop.) “Snake Hands” is a single from his forthcoming LP Space Magick. Consummate beat-fiend that he is, Lover also flipped the switch back the other way this summer and put up a collection of remixes, recorded over a one-year period. That includes trance-ready instrumental mixes of tracks by fellow (or former) locals like Nick Waterhouse, Fuzz, and Burnt Ones, along with a standout take on Grinderman’s “Bellringer Blues.” He’ll be showcasing a live beat set at Bottom of the Hill tonight. With Coo Coo Birds, Face Tat, Bubblegum Crises.
Wed/31, 9pm, $8. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF. www.bottomofthehill.com.
You guys, Space Vacation is like SF’s own Spinal Tap, distilling the many aspects of theatrical heavy metal into an entertaining metal act you must see live. The group plays actual sing-along heavy metal (in the vein of Iron Maiden and Def Leppard) but also brings along show-enhancing efforts like smoke and lasers. The quartet plays the all-day, all-ages Summer Throwdown event at DNA Lounge this weekend with Son of a SuperCar, Systemic Decay, Look a Flying Pig, Dammit, Serville, and a handful more. Lean in and throw the devil horns during the daylight.
Sun/4, 4:30pm, $15. DNA, 375 11th St, SF. www.dnalounge.com.
LIGHTNING DUST, LOUISE BURNS, SPELLS
There seems to be an uptick in occult fascination lately, or am I just now really paying attention? This whole lineup — a free show through Wood Shoppe — has the witchy vibe, with Vancouver’s Lightning Dust and Louise Burns, and SF’s own Spells. Lightning Dust’s Amber Webber (of Black Mountain) and Josh Wells began as a whispery folk duo in 2007. However, their spooky third LP, June’s Fantasy (Jagjaguwar), is said to be inspired more by “skeletal synth pop, modern R&B beats, the films of John Carpenter and…absolute minimalism.” Louise Burns has that chilled ’80s darkwave thing down. And Spells, the newest project from songwriter Jennifer Marie, incorporates synth and vintage organs into eerie, lovely nightmarescapes (check locally appropriate “Fog”).
Tue/6, 8pm, free. Brick and Mortar Music Hall, 1710 Mission, SF. www.brickandmortarmusic.com.