In his new single “Freedom,” gospel singer and songwriter Ryte Eye Ty offers us a crushing ballad that speaks to the soul in a manner that will leave you breathless, and not because of any showy cosmetics or synthetic frills. On the contrary, Ryte Eye Ty is cutting something that goes well beyond what the status quo would call for in “Freedom” this July; from a lyrical perspective, not only does this track address the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement with a grace that is second to none, it relates a major call to arms unto us without inviting discordance into the conversation. There haven’t been a lot of positive R&B/gospel crossovers worth writing home about this season, making this track all the more of a treasure.
There’s no hesitation in Ryte Eye Ty’s vocal execution here; contrarily, he’s going for gold with more moxie than the rhythm of his verses would necessarily call for. He’s careful to avoid rushing through the words; there’s a timeliness to his performance in “Freedom” that bridges the tension in the lyrics with the heartache in his voice, leading us to get something out of every angle in the mix simultaneously. There are no drums or big guitar solos for him to compete with – the spotlight is undisputedly his, and he utilizes every moment he’s in it to display as much soul as an artist can in this particular scenario. I like his charisma, and more specifically his cool demeanor even when delivering us an exceptionally emotional lyric.
Lyrically speaking, “Freedom” is one of the most intensely imagistic songs I’ve listened to from a gospel singer in the last year, and I would even go as far as to say that it wouldn’t require a music video to immediately conjure some powerful visuals within the audience’s mind. Ryte Eye Ty is poetic but conservative with his diction here, and though it’s obvious that he isn’t interested in hiding behind trite metaphors and predictable platitudes in any capacity, he isn’t adopting a watered-down variation on the R&B poeticisms that once dominated the mainstream gospel genre a couple of decades ago. It’s clear to me that this is all him; there’s nothing inauthentic nor unmelodic in this track, which is more than I can say for some of pop’s biggest chart-toppers this summer.
While I do like what I heard in 2020’s “I Got the Money” as well, I believe that “Freedom” is a more accurate statement of self from Ryte Eye Ty, and is perhaps indicative of what we can expect out of his camp in the near future (with any luck). Here we have a champion of old school gospel balladry, and for the times we’re collectively living in today, I don’t think his work could be arriving at a more optimal moment this year. Ryte Eye Ty is on the right path towards success in “Freedom,” and provided he maintains this present creative trajectory, it won’t be the last of his singles to make headlines.
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