One may not necessarily tag Chicago native Cassie Ray’s unique brand of trap hop as “emo” on first listen. The melodies in the string of tracks he released last year are laid back as are the snare-heavy beats and his lyrical flow is equally chill, though quite fast and articulate. He has, however, named emo music as one of his major influences, so with titles like “Stay” and “Love Me Now,” it sort of makes sense.
Ray’s new track “Acting Up” released in late January has a similar laid back vibe but with an emotive background melody. Lyrically, this track may be Ray’s fastest yet, especially once he gets into the meat of the track. While catchy, it’s clear that the rapper is talking about a pretty complex concept: that false sense of pride and entitlement that happens when someone gets a small taste of fame or money. It’s an interesting subject that can be interpreted a lot of ways but at core it’s a cultural commentary. Therein may lie more influence from emo music (read: Panic! At the Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”) but really it’s Hay’s own style.
With tracks that are emotive in their own way and make nods to actual emo as well as R&B, trap and old school hip hop, Cassie Hay will likely fare well. He’s got a different angle that’s refreshing even as mumble rap hits its denouement (finally). While relatable on a lot of levels and catchy on a pop level, Hay’s “emo rap” also delivers a complex, authentic message.
Check out all Cassie Hay’s tracks on Spotify and look for more coming soon.