On October 16, Atlanta-based recording artist Raury is scheduled to drop his debut studio album All We Need. The 14-track collection will feature fellow Southern representatives Big K.R.I.T. & Key! as well as Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello.
Raury previously generated national buzz with his 2014 EP Indigo Child. The critically acclaimed project introduced the singer-songwriter-rapper to listeners beyond the ATL area, but an official LP is a different monster than an extended play.
“I don’t know how it feels. I’m sick of acting like I know how I feel and exactly what’s going on. I’m completely fine saying I don’t know,” Raury informs AllHipHop.com about releasing his first album. “It’s crazy. You’d have to go through it to understand.”
It has been a whirlwind journey for Raury over the last 18 months. He signed with Columbia Records, got selected as a XXL Freshman Class member, hosted his second annual Raurfest, participated in the BET Hip Hop Awards cyphers, and made his late night television debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Throughout all those major moves, Raury has maintained the core ideal of using his growing celebrity to convey a message to the masses. His appearance on the XXL cover wasn’t a platform to showcase fancy jewelry or high-end fashion. A simple white T-shirt with the words “Industry Plant” printed on the front served as the focal point of Raury’s attire. Not since Kurt Cobain’s “corporate magazines still suck” tee on Rolling Stone has an artist so perfectly demonstrated snarky chic on a music publication's cover.
Raury continued his method of silent protest through clothes on Colbert. The September 22 episode also included an interview with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Earlier this summer, the controversial real estate magnate incited widespread condemnation when he suggested Mexican immigrants are drug dealers and rapists.
How did Raury respond to The Donald? He wore a Mexico soccer jersey on the CBS program with Trump’s name crossed out. It’s barely been two years since the Stone Mountain, Georgia native even reached voting age, but he already recognizes his ability to stir political discussion.
“I may never make these great inventions, racial breakthroughs or be president, but I want to inspire the next president,” says Raury.
The confidence needed to go on national TV and take on a billionaire politician was not always embedded in Raury. Less than a decade ago, the “Friends” performer suffered through being socially awkward as a student.
“I was in an extremely dark place when I was 13-14,” recalls Raury. “I was going to a new high school, and I didn’t really fit in. I didn’t like myself or anything around me.”
Like many teenagers, Raury found escape through the work of his favored artists, but it was one 2009 mood piece from a Cleveland rapper that left the greatest mark on the young star-in-the-making. The reaction to introspective cuts such as “Solo Dolo,” “Pursuit Of Happiness,” and “Day ‘N’ Nite” laid a blueprint for Raury’s eventual life mission.
“Kid Cudi’s Man On The Moon - it saved my life,” Raury explains. “From that point on, I knew I wanted to do that for other people. All I want to do is make someone’s day better.”
For Raury, discovering the power of artistic influence was his first step in the direction of becoming a recording artist. The instrumentalist later connected with the LoveRenaissance (LVRN) collective and started to develop his sound.
While LoveRenaissance assists with the creative direction and management portion of Raury’s career, the name also serves as a mantra. The revival of heartfelt emotion is ingrained in every part of the persona. From the music to the visuals to the wardrobe, Raury presents artistry as a genuine demonstration of personal revelation. And he suggests his fans find that same spirit of inner strength within themselves.
“Do everything with goodness in your heart. Before you do anything - put a song out, post a tweet, post a picture - pay attention to how you feel when you’re doing it. And trust that feeling, and know that you are right,” advises Raury.
He continues, “I could be wrong. Whoever is giving you advice could be completely wrong. You have the answers more than anybody.”
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Read other installments of AllHipHop’s #ATLRiseUp series here.
Purchase Raury’s All We Need on iTunes.
Check out the locations/dates for Raury's "The Crystal Express Tour" below.