"Wife Me?" by Rheo Uno featuring ChxmpionReview
Unfortunately, it has been over a year since I last wrote about a Rheo release in the magazine and a similar timespan since her "Down For You" appeared on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Three'. However she has been far from inactive in the intervening, admittedly difficult, months, creating a load of great new tracks and evolving into a new artist ID as Rheo Uno with a fresh signature sound.
First out of the traps in this new era is her latest single with the arresting title of "Wife Me?", released today, which has been carefully selected as a bridging track between her previous work and what is coming.
Rheo wrote the original song about two and a half years ago but has substantially reworked it in line with her new visions with the production assistance of Charles Drew of Monarchy Music plus a rap section created by London based artist Chxmpion.
It's intriguing to consider a transitional artefact such as this, but since I've had the chance to hear both Rheo's earlier work and the single due after "Wife Me?" (which is a cracker by the way), I can see her point. If however her fans are thrown into dismay by the prospect of change, quite apart from reminding them that all good artists need to be able to grow and change to fulfil their potential, I can assure them that the development is just that: not violent change to an entirely new format but a building on current strengths by increasing the variety of ways in which Rheo can express herself.
In fact, if one could categorise her earlier work as being dance orientated, then it strikes me that "Wife Me?" and its successor will get you on your feet still. Equally I appreciate her wit & that's definitely still in evidence. The title, as I said above, attracts attention from the word go (no bad thing in the music business world) and from there the lyrics continue in an equally memorable way. In fact, if I had to single out one way in which her decision to move into what she describes as more "commercial pop" has created change, then I think that it would be the way that the mixing reveals the lyrics more boldly: I could also say that it highlights the quality of her vocals more fully, but I suppose the two things come together from the same one process.
As you'd expect with Rheo & her team, the track itself reeks cool class. Beautifully put together, it has a sultry vibe to it and is unusual in being so percussion centred which certainly caught my attention. In terms of Chxmpion's section, I must say I was a little apprehensive. I've heard superb melding of raps into the hearts of songs and I have heard some appallingly artificial ones with barely compatible sections crowbarred together because people thought to do so was on trend. In this case, it works a treat: his section slides in without a perceptible join (there is even a crossover which is a great idea) and he matches both words & delivery perfectly to the whole.
Overall, "Wife Me?" is a joyous track, the teasing being entirely in fun (I think) and as a route from where Rheo was to where Rheo Uno is going, it's totally successful. Which brings me to a crucial point, so I hope you are paying due attention. There is a real danger that in honestly signalling her intentions, Rheo might be suggesting that "Wife Me?" is merely a means to an end. I believe it is a great more than that, and although you & I both understand where she is going, "Wife Me?" is an excellent single in its own right and deserves every success. Not least commercially.
Rheo sounds very confident too: happy with what she is creating and feeling that each song "..is better than the last, developing and building upon the one before and diversifying a little too", which is very encouraging and hopefully will enable her to continue to build a substantial body of work with greater variety and depth than if she had not taken a bold artistic and career move.