It’s been more than four years since Stori Brooks sprung up from the Atlanta underground onto my radar. The prodigious rap skills, the casual genre-bending, and the disdain for conventionality drove her music from my ears into my heart. Brook’s subliminal war on the male dominated rap establishment has been excitingly captivating. On her songs, the artist puts on a rap clinic, flaying narratives in a flow so neat you might miss the fact that every piece of every line is as poetic as it is designed weaponry. Her voice is often the sole unifying force from track to track. She is a formidable spitter, whose flash and flow are unmistakably distinct, supported by her pursuit of a degree in English. Raised in South Carolina, the vocalist, songwriter, and producer is influenced by a broad spectrum of musicians – including her classical pianist mother who allowed a young Brooks to draw under her piano during performances.
Now Stori Brooks is back on my prime radar screen with a 3 track EP, entitled “RGB (1,0)”, which was released 4/28. Realized during this quarantine, the three tracks, namely “Red (Strength)”, “Green (Wisdom)” and “Blue (Serenity)”, come straight from her journal.
And if you’re wondering how it came out, let’s cut to the chase straight off – “RGB (1,0)” is concise, bold, assured, and very, very smooth. Airtight rhymes flow like hot melting liquid across washes of shimmering keys, percussive intricacies and lush layers of vocal delicacies.
“Red (Strength)” opens up the gambit, with an incessantly busy drum pattern, while Stori Brooks skitters over the top in breathless fashion. Up next is the expansive undulating swish of “Green (Wisdom)”. The beat is slower, the mood pensive, and the voice unmistakably mesmerizing.
The brevity of each track leaves no space for wasted words or excessive notes, everything is compressed in just enough time to capture you’re attention. The closer, “Blue (Serenity)” is almost like an extension of the gorgeousness, of the song that precedes it. Here Stori Brooks sprinkles repetitive phrases around her central vocal motif, which will undoubtedly have a hypnotic effect on listeners.
If these 5 minutes and 25 seconds are any indication, Stori Brooks still remains a breath of fresh air in today’s music scene, as she was a few years ago. She returns to grace with a recording that plays like the perfect soundtrack to her mindset in these troubled times.
Stori Brooks maneuvers effortlessly over warm production that requires more thinking and less moving. There’s a time and a place for every sound, and this was purposely meant for now. She is both expectedly eclectic and genuinely talented, as well as wholly unapologetic, as to how she affronts her art and craft.
She demonstrates, once again on “RGB (1,0)”, what devoted fans like myself have always known: She is truly one-of-a-kind as a vocalist, songwriter, producer, and a forward thinker. Throughout her catalog Stori Banks has delivered far more quality than most of her peers ever will, and more than most artists with careers twice as long as.