Possibly my favorite member of Odd Future (a collective of artists from California that houses well known names such as Tyler, the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Frank Ocean, and Domo Genesis), Syd tha Kyd—or just “Syd” for short—released her third record with her band The Internet in 2015 entitled Ego Death. The record was an amazing blend of everything R&B and one of the Grammy nominations under the “Urban Contemporary” category, one of the few times I agreed with a genre label that usually just stands for “black other.”
Going solo on Fin (a reference to her hairstyle, not an ending), Syd balances more than just R&B—adding in elements of pop, dance, and even trap. The music itself shows a wide study and clear awareness of what’s happening in music, sounding like everything I wish The Weeknd became after his first record House of Balloons. Especially on tracks like “Smile More,” the verses boast an early-Weeknd-sounding melody not too far from the one on “The Morning.” On the reverse side, tracks like “All About Me” show Syd’s trap side, with the production sounding like a blend of Timbaland, Metro Boomin, Illangelo, and Hit-Boy.
The best part about Fin however isn’t the music and production, but how smooth and swaggy Syd glides her melodies over all twelve tracks. It really reminds of the Weeknd that could have been had he not become a “muthafuckin’ Starboy.” What’s even better is that even though Syd is gay, and even though all of the songs come from the perspective of one woman to another, it’s not an overbearing or even seminal element of the material. When she’s writing a track like “Body,” she’s not thinking “how am I going to shove it in conservative faces that I’m with a woman,” but instead just sings to a girl like any classic R&B song would, declaring to have made the “baby-making anthem of 2017.”
Nonetheless, Fin is a triumph in its own right. It not only demonstrates Syd’s growth and sheer confidence as a fantastic R&B singer, but also her versatility over these twelve-tracks—a tour through the sounds of today’s music, and Syd’s excellent spin on the current trends.