‘Overgrown’ — Joyce Wrice — Album review

It’s Friday night, I’m aimlessly scrolling through Instagram and I come across a post from Jay Prince. He’s congratulating Joyce Wrice, an R&B singer from LA, on her debut album release…

‘Overgrown’ is what he’s waxing lyrical about, so I head to Spotify to have a listen. As an undying hip-hop fan, I’m immediately hooked by a collaboration (‘On One’) with Freddie Gibbs. Not even one second in and the soulful, plucked strings that underpin the entire track have fully captivated me. I’m lost in this track that’s getting better and better and then, wow, Gibbs himself soars in with this mighty verse. His deep, unapologetic and iconic vocal quality is paired like a fine wine with Wrice’s silky, angelic tones. I won’t confess how many times I’ve rinsed this since. It’s a lot. But while this deliriously infectious track somehow improves with plays, it’s not the only gem on the album.

So, here I am this Saturday afternoon, now reviewing the record because I’d be bonkers not to. Throughout, you get all the essential R&B and pop ingredients in one well stirred melting pot. It has all the trappings of material from Amerie, Kelly Rowland and even Alicia Keys, too. Stuff we don’t listen to on loop anymore but should definitely start doing again. 

Lucky Daye and UMI feature on two more of the collabs, while there are specific interludes attributed to certain artists — the ones with Westside Gunn and KAYTRANADA come up trumps. Perhaps not in that order, though — the grooves we’re used to from KAYTRANADA are so well placed on this album. His deft handle on uptempo, funky melodies gives clear rise to why Wrice would want his contribution here.

The soft rawness of the guitars that strum intermittently on ‘Think About You’ typify why real instruments over electronic synths will, generally speaking, be my preference. But this is a much slower track, so it isn’t up there in the ‘On One’ stakes for me. The next in popularity actually has to be ‘Must Be Nice (ft. Masego)’. It’s got a rhythmic beat that makes your hips move and that alone has got to be job done for any R&B artist — if people hearing your tunes are moving to them, you’ve hit the nail on the head. 

The old-school rap beats on both ‘Losing’ and ‘You’ make these two rippers as well. They wouldn’t be left field in a jazz bar and both have ‘summertime in a rooftop bar’ written all over them. ‘You’ is undeniably hypnotic, too. 

So, yeah, I couldn’t let this immense debut from Joyce Wrice go undocumented on Record Weekly. I didn’t know it was coming before it dropped, but my scrolling through the socials paid off. Wrap up what you’re doing and spin this phenomenal female’s songs sharpish.

If you only download one track, let it be: ‘On One ft. Freddie Gibbs’

Slightly tweaked but original image via 2DopeBoyz

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