A lot will be said about the lead vocal in DICI’s new single “Five Rings,” but for me, without the keyboard element that we’re first greeted by in the intro to the song, I just can’t say for sure whether or not the chills factor would be as astronomical as it is when the singing does come into the picture. The part that the keys play, in the grander scheme of things, is admittedly minuscule at best. They don’t convey verses to the audience and they don’t set the beat up behind the melodies. They frame the groove more than they follow it and they don’t quite produce enough gusto to impact the harmony in any way DICI doesn’t allow himself. Was their placement in “Five Rings” essential to our enjoying the substance of this young upstart’s songwriting skillset? I don’t think there’s any answer other than a resounding yes.
Don’t get me wrong now – this is a rapper and singer who has a lot of muscularity in his voice, and every component of the master mix is playing some part in giving us the full-blown theatrical performance we’re getting in this all-new single. What it all comes down to is the fact that without every detail, no matter how big or small, this song wouldn’t be the full package it is today, and it would be criminal for fans not to experience how far its singer has come this year.
I really love the elegance of this arrangement, and the first time I sat down to take a closer peek at the structure of “Five Rings,” I was taken aback by how hypnotically the vocals drone forth beside – and not on top of – the instruments here. DICI’s vocal is breathtakingly smooth no matter how it’s being worked out, and whether he meets a tough spot in the groove or not, his execution is always consistently spot-on. He doesn’t sound overly rehearsed, but entirely free in his dispensing of one verse after another, and part of me would like to hear a remix of this single just to further explore the depth of his unforced delivery in a new setting. This could work as well on an acoustic guitar as it does with this layout, and that isn’t always the case in indie hip-hop (or any other subgenre in western pop music, for that matter).
DICI’s debut extended play had my attention the minute it came pouring out of my speakers back in February, but if his main goal in releasing “Five Rings” was to solidify a place in the hearts of critics like myself, I don’t know that he could have done a much better job. His journey is far from complete – there are elements of his songwriting that could be ironed out, streamlined even, in the name of fitting in with evolving interests towards postmodernity on the mainstream side of hip-hop – but his putting so much personality into these virgin efforts absolutely speaks to his potential longevity in the business.
I’ll be sticking around to hear more of his enigmatic, hard-hitting harmonies in the future, and I think you might be doing the same once you analyze “Five Rings” on your own.