By Lance Jordan, Sports Editor
I was fresh out of high school when I was introduced to a bizarre video by a rapper known as Tyler, The Creator, titled, “Yonkers.” Among other things, “Yonkers” featured numerous disses toward other artists, as well as a video of Tyler eating a roach. Afterward, Tyler and his group Odd Future blew up, during which time they were easily the hottest group in music. The group would go on to have a successful clothing line and their own television program. Unlike Tyler and Frank Ocean, many members of Odd Future flew under the radar, including Sydney Bennett, aka Syd Tha Kyd, who was once a member of the collective “The Internet” inside the Odd Future camp. Syd and Matt Martin enjoyed a decent amount of success with their neo-soul and alternative R&B sound. Breaking away from the ranks of Odd Future, Syd is now ready to strike out on her own.
“Fin” is the 12-track debut solo album from Syd Tha Kyd, released by Columbia Records and Sony Music. To some, her tomboyish appearance may catch the listeners and viewers by surprise, as her lyrics are sung just as beautifully as the likes of Aaliyah and Jhene Aiko.
A lot of “Fin” focuses on casual sex and relationships. In the song “Know,” Syd talks about a secretive affair; in the chorus she sings, “Don’t let nobody know, let’s keep it on the low, and as long as he don’t, long as she don’t, we’ll lay back and play the game / and as long as he don’t, long as she don’t, ain’t no need to play it safe.” In the track “Over,” Syd sings about ending a dysfunctional relationship. In the opening verse, she hopes to hang on to the relationship, but she soon comes to realize that it is in fact over. Syd also received help in the track from 6LACK, an upcoming rapper and R&B artist who discusses the problems that arise in relationships when you are blindly in love.
For me, the album’s singles “All About Me” and “Body” are really strong tracks. In “All About Me,” which features a somewhat darker beat, Syd shows appreciation for those who helped her achieve her career’s success. In the chorus, she sings, “Take care of the family that you came with, we made it this far and it’s amazing, people drowning all around me, so I keep my squad around me, keep it in the family that you came with, keep enemies close you know the basics, people crowded all around me, I guess it’s all about me.” Changing gears in “Body” Syd sings an almost old-school slow jam about making love to a girl who the listener can assume is either her girlfriend or some women she just met.
Syd does not censor herself in “Fin,” neither lyrically nor in the versatility of her songs. One minute she evokes the late Aaliyah in “Know,” then moves on to a more boastful, dark style in “All About Me.” There is a lot to like in “Fin,” especially if you are a fan of R&B and neo-soul. While some tracks talk openly and acceptingly of cheating and casual sex, take it as entertainment, and enjoy the beautifully crafted project.