When: Sat., June 4, 7:30 p.m. 2016
One listen to Dej Loaf’s effortless 2014 breakout single “Try Me” does a lot to show why the Detroit rapper-singer sits on the precipice of stardom: over a dreamlike, levitating instrumental, her assured, tranquil vocals morph from strong, coruscated rapped bars to luxuriant Auto-Tune-flecked singing and back again. At the end of a string of iconoclastic boasts Dej Loaf raps, “And I ain’t signin’ to no label, bitch, I’m independent,” which was the case when “Try Me” was first released, but by October 2014 she’d inked a deal with Columbia. The label hasn’t reined in Dej Loaf’s distinctive pop voice. Her 2015 EP And See That’s the Thing includes “Back Up,” a sinister, twinkling quasi-ratchet track that samples Chicago footwork producer DJ Clent, and Dej Loaf’s coiled raps more than make up for the guest appearance by Big Sean. Her recent All Jokes Aside mixtape is more of a stopgap, though on the inviting “Die 4 It” Dej Loaf calmly shows how easily she can swerve towards pop while keeping her fierce bite intact.