Chicago R&B sensation Ravyn Lenae promises to be a bright spot at this year’s Mamby on the Beach | Bleader

Chicago R&B sensation Ravyn Lenae promises to be a bright spot at this year’s Mamby on the Beach

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Ravyn Lenae’s new EP, Midnight Moonlight
  • Ravyn Lenae’s new EP, Midnight Moonlight

Yesterday React Presents announced the lineup for Mamby on the Beach, its annual collision of electronic music, hip-hop, and indie pop; this year it takes over Oakwood Beach on June 24 and 25. The headliners don't exactly scream "excitement" to me, with the exception of Flying Lotus—his comrades at the top of the bill include indie-pop has-beens MGMT and, um, Walk the Moon, the Cincinnati pop-rock group behind the irritating 2014 single "Shut Up and Dance." But look further down the list and you'll see plenty of talent from the Chicago hip-hop scene, including Pivot Gang cofounder Saba, Closed Sessions producer Oddcouple, and gospel-loving rapper Sir the Baptist.

Another act that jumps out at me is otherworldly R&B singer Ravyn Lenae, who has a nice slot on Saturday. At 18 she's already made a name for herself as a solo artist and as a member of hip-hop collective Zero Fatigue, which also includes superhuman-smooth rapper Smino and dazzling producer Monte Booker. Lenae recently opened for Noname on the Telefone tour, and just last week she dropped the EP Midnight Moonlight. On my favorite song from the new release, "Unknown," Lenae uses her voice to mirror Booker's lightly chattering production—when he reverses his synths, she sounds as if she's singing by inhaling, her feathery delivery approximating the effect of backmasking. This performance ought to make it clear how she got the Mamby gig—and why she deserves to be even higher on the bill.



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