Aptly named and in your face
Kyle Dion’s sophomore album delivers the grooves of SUGA with twice the assertiveness
Now I’m no music snob, but I’ve always had a thing for funk as a genre, along with its cousins: rap and R&B. Kyle Dion is one of those artists whose name I’d hear and think I’d heard somewhere, but he’s always eluded my radar. For the purposes of the story, do me a favor and boot up “No Rules” for me. This ain’t no cobbled together effort, right? Imagine my surprise when I found out I’d been sleeping on this guy entirely! Dion’s previous work already establishes him as a force to be reckoned with in the modern R&B sphere (whether it’s his rock star-like falsetto or his contemplative lyricism) but it’s Sassy that’s going to set him apart in the minds of listeners.
It turns out “No Rules” is a very fitting track to kick off the album, as it captures Dion’s spirit as an artist: “ever-changing” as he puts it. Dion puts this ethos to work in Sassy through his in-your-face, sometimes straight-up-comedic lyricism, and effective blending of genres. You’re gonna see elements of hip-hop, soul, R&B, pop-rock, and To Pimp Butterfly-Esque vocal performances on this project (even Ja Rule is on board. We’re covering a lot of bases here).
Perhaps most impressive is Dion’s ability to deliver a sound that sounds both reverently old, yet daringly new. I would chalk this up to production value and instrumentation. The album credits Chris Hartz as Executive Producer and features bassist Thomas Drayton- both gentlemen who previously lent their talents to Childish Gambino’s 2016 Awaken, My Love. So if you enjoyed that album, you’ll understand there’s some serious talent behind Dion on Sassy. It’s on Spotify and all the other major streaming platforms, so if you’re interested in a genre-bending take on soul/R&B that stretches the form to its limits, give Sassy a shot!
Check out our favorite tracks from the album below.
This review was written by Jordan Rivera. A writer with the gusto, a wordsmith, and a purveyor of the craft.