Chicago’s Ravyn Lenae, the 18-year-old songstress behind some of Noname and Mick Jenkins’ best hooks, has one of those voices so high and mighty that it seems to operate on its own plane. The layered melodies and soaring runs on her March EP Midnight Moonlight are at once weightless and emotionally dense, like some gravitational trick.
Until this point, Lenae’s solo work has largely been produced by fellow Chicagoan Monte Booker, whose knotty, hyperdigital beats give her songs forward motion, but contain them in icy moods. So, when Lenae recently announced she was working with The Internet guitarist Steve Lacy, it signaled a shift. Lacy’s iPhone-recorded February demo tape is mellow garage funk, as warm as his Los Angeles hometown. Their first song together, “Sticky,” is carried by boardwalk organ and guitar, and Lenae dances through the open space. Listen below.