When you think of Top Dawg Entertainment, you immediately think of its top-billed artists: Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and SZA. But there are plenty of other artists who are making serious career moves. The latest is in the form of SiR’s studio debut November. A neo-soul artist from Inglewood, California, Sir Darryl Farris grew up in a home of gospel singers. This album is a snapshot of his trials toward achieving legitimacy in the R&B world. And SiR has been busy working toward it, considering TDE signed him just a year ago (in fact, exactly a year before November’s release).
At its core, November focuses on the superficiality of tangible success as a contrast to his previous albums about loyalty and love. In “That’s Alright”, he sings of his struggle between maintaining a relationship or focusing on following his dream; he chooses music over everything. While airing an arrogant tone, he closes the album out with realizing that love doesn’t care about accolades. The topics of his album are lofty and commonplace for artists finally reaching “household name” status.
Although the gospel influence is obvious, SiR also pulls from jazzy production and psychedelic, spacey tempos and tones to bend the neo-soul genre more toward D’Angelo, Roy Ayers and Pink Floyd. The album moves from popular slow-moving Hip-Hop on “Something Foreign” (accompanied by Schoolboy Q) to more reverbed and experimental tunes in “D’Evil” and “Never Home”, then back to staple R&B jams in “War” and “Summer in November”. Paying apparent homage to Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey, SiR turns to “K”, a female AI that constantly updates him on his career journey. She says at the end of “Something New”, “33 trillion kilometers to go”. Just as Hal eerily comforts David Bowman throughout a failing mission into the unknown, K helps SiR embrace the ambiguity that lies ahead. And, he definitely has a bright future. Although focusing on R&B clichés limits the critical acclaim of the album, November is an exciting preview into SiR’s unlimited potential.
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- Sam Harkey