Raw Inked is an artist from Cleveland, Ohio who has been making music for about six years. All of which forms the title of his six track EP entitled “I’m Raw 6”. If the emcee was looking to deliver on his potential as an artist across a solid body of work. This is it. This is his story, his experiences, his aspirations, and his vision. Though this is a fully fleshed-out recording, there aren’t too many bells and whistles here; just passion and a lyrical approach that separates him from the sea of self-made rappers. The opening track, “Neva Gave Up” quickly sets the tone and the watermark of what to expect, moving on.
It’s a track where Raw Inked states the case of his unrelenting aspirations, while the following cut, “Self Made” takes that concept further, with the rapper stating clearly and confidently that he is going to change the game. In a modern rap culture that’s been dominated by overhyped, yet underwritten and underperformed mainstream hits, it’s refreshing to hear a collection of songs bereft of filler. Raw Inked’s approach to hip-hop is at odds with the rest of his scene.
While his contemporaries are simply dropping vibes, his dropping both bars and vibes. Take his execution of “Finish Line”, wrapped in a luxurious smooth-flowing and soulful beat which is a typical mood-inducer.
Listen carefully and you’ll hear Raw Inked flow over the top with thoughtful, conscious and introspective lyrics. It’s about being fearless and wanting to reach your goals against the odds. The lyrics are not complicated, but each line carry its weight and have universal appeal.
He both confronts and transcends clichés on the EP’s centerpiece, “Secrets of Life” which is brimming with spiritual references. No-one can doubt Raw Inked’s sincerity, nor his willingness to delve into the deeper issues of existentialism. The hooks are harmonic and distinctive, the flows have smoothed-off edges that carry the bars through to the payoffs, and the ethereal, echoing piano-driven atmosphere keeps everything ticking over.
A fresh new energy is freed from this more restrained approach, which carries over into “Rapture”. The beat gets more expansive and eloquent, while the rhymes get more gracious and considerate, offering a profound side to Raw Inked’s personality and faith. Not only that, but his wordplay and flows are also at their most ear-warming during these moments. Track by track, RawInked doesn’t run out of ideas and they’re played in a relentlessly engaging fashion.
On “Jordan” he switches the sonic template, drawing from the genre’s melodic elements, and though he is in full sing-song mode, lyrically Raw Inked is still on top of his game unfolding a sad narrative of losing a son. It proves that the deeper you run into the track-list, the more this EP has to say, and the more it will grow on you.
Then there’s the technical aspect of Raw Inked’s work. Unlike the monotonous wave of copycat rappers who have been solidly rejecting lyricism, Raw Inked embraces his lyrical prowess and infuse it into his work. All of which makes him a very exciting artist to follow.
OFFICIAL LINKS: Instagram @rawinked – Twitter @Raw_inked – YouTube Raw Inked