Five days before the game against the Pacers that ended his season, Kyrie Irving stepped into the studio and reminded us he can thrive artistically with or without knees.
Allow me to do my best Anthony Fantano impression and review “Ridiculous” off the recently-released soundtrack for Uncle Drew. The track is by none other than singer/songwriter Kyrie Irving, featuring LunchMoney Lewis.
Irving enters the studio assertively, matching the glossy red walls with a silky red sweater and iPhone of his own. It wouldn’t be a hip-hop recording without an entrance over the phone by a friend of the artist, but Irving does his over Facetime to bring in a modern feel.
There’s nothing new about this experience for him in his seventh year producing smooth vocal harmonies. The performer has to blend with his atmosphere.
Almost a decade ago, when Irving debuted out of Cleveland, his raw talent flashed in his ability to portray his love to the ladies through a difficult cover, unsuitable sound equipment and poor supporting talent around him. Tristan Thompson is definitely Tito Jackson in this tandem. Irving carried this Valentine’s Day classic to burst on to the scene.
As he rested comfortably into his higher register he began knocking off hit after hit, finding his niche as a cover artist. If you’re unfamiliar with his award-winning catalogue, check out A Thousand Miles, which drew rave reviews from music critic Carmelo Anthony, his short-lived group effort with Iman Shumpert and Jordan McRae as well as If I Ain’t Got You.
“I kind of consider myself a singer a little bit,” he says, falling well short of the credit his discography bestows upon him.
There’s no mistaking the talent in 2018 as Irving finds himself on the same album as industry giants Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz for a major movie.
“Ridiculous” bares it all from a songwriting perspective.
Twenty-one of his bars throughout the song refer to the title “ridiculous” and there’s no better musical strategy than sticking to the theme.
Repeating that idea throughout the three minutes, Irving stretches out the refrain “it’s about to get ridiculous” pulling each word to their full potential. Meanwhile he paints a vivid picture, a 1995 party with all his ladies getting lit with his guys.
He was 3 years old in ‘95, but exaggeration is part of great music. Ice Cube definitely stubbed his toe or something throughout the course of his “Good Day.”
Little did you know, Irving also starred in that video.
He hits the similes “for real like candy rain,” projects a future payday “throw your hands up if you just got paid,” (by Boston, right!?) and doesn’t shake off the haters but turns to empower them “don’t be mad cause you can do it, too.”
I’ll dock Irving for artistic liberties and for fanning the flames of contract uncertainty but it’s hard to not fall for the snapping fingers, the piano harmony that bridges into the chorus and the subtle clucking that reminds me of Drop it Like It’s Hot.
I’ll give it a 7/10. I’m a tough grader.