We already knew that So Unique was someone not to be crossed, Final Warning told us everything we need to know on that score, and now, as if to drive the point home, she delivers Never Again. If that previous single was seen as a warning that she was coming, that the Florida hip-hop scene and the world at large should get ready, then Never Again shows that she is not going to tolerate being played around by anyone. She is not a girl to get mad, she is a girl to get even. You have been warned.
Revelling in the past is all very well and good but the best music, or at least the most original, seems to be made as people move things forward. It’s evolution, it’s forward-thinking, it is the way the world turns. So Unique and in particular, Never Again is the sound of the world turning and music moving into pastures new. Yes, you can break the song apart and find very recognisable musical building blocks being used, but it is what they are used to build which is the real charm.
Over a lazy and sultry hip-hop groove she hangs soulful vibes, trippy electronica, deft and razor sharp rap flows and a wonderful use of space and anticipation. What is so clever about her approach at finding new ways forward, new directions for hip-hop, rap and the various urban music threads which lie at the core of this music is that instead of pushing outwards into more tenuous and fractured realms, as some artists are trying to do, she instead looks inward to rap, pop, R&B and even an inherent soulfulness, under its sharp teeth and don’t mess attitude to create her sound. Whereas so many of his fellow artists are trying to create music by blending disparate genres which have no business hanging out with each other into chimeric and unsatisfying new styles, So Unique reunites hip-hop with its pop roots.
The result is the best of both worlds as Never Again drives on a confident, even aggressive lyrical flow and is underpinned by a real old school urban groove, trippy-trappy beats and some equally intriguing and intricate music details, glitchy sounds and strange peripheral motifs.
And that is what this song is all about, it tips its hat to the past whilst shaping the future and it does really feel like a first, a bold step forward, a post-genre style that pushes beyond the rules and regulations, ignores the fickle finger of fashion and has no time for musical guardians and narrow-minded pedants telling it what hip-hop, pop, rap, electronic dance music or any other genre should be about. And anyway, if you did have a problem with where So Unique is going musically, are you going to be the one to tell her? I thought not!