ENNY at the Lexington: finding her feet but heading for the stars

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This promising performance indicates a great future

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Chasing the next big thing, it’s usually around this time of year that the industry’s flavor makers begin the thought process of nominating new acts to watch for the next 12 months. While the public won’t hear the results for at least a few more months, one thing is for sure: When the 2022 picks finally come out, you can expect to see ENNY riding high on a lot of lists.

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You could argue that the recognition is already overdue, because the rapper’s breakout moment, picked up by Themesmaid, actually happened a year earlier with the release of his single Peng Black Girls. A powerful celebration of blackness – and a scathing rebuke for colorism and misogyny – was released via the Amiya Brave-starring single. Jorja SmithFAMM imprint in October 2020, and immediately became a viral hit. Shortly after, Smith replaced Brave on vocals for the remix, a version that stands at nearly 18 million streams on Spotify today.

In July of this year, the 26-year-old proved that “PBG” wasn’t off to a great start, ironically sharing a stellar debut EP titled Under Twenty Five.. It was material from this record that ENY discovered last night at The Lexington as part of BBC Introducing’s monthly talent show. Backed by a four-piece band, he strutted through the 40-minute set, spit out startlingly complex but intimate bars on various jazz and funk-tinged instruments.

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To begin with, her almost conversational cadence sat so low in the mix that it sounded jumbled by the music itself, but as the set progressed, balance was restored, allowing fans to admire her masterful flow and quick-witted verses. Allowed to enjoy to the fullest. What the lyrics are, examines everything from institutional racism (Good Kids Freestyle) and gentrification (Same Old) to body image (PBG) and identity (I want), and provide a level of insight that ENY Relatives cheat the youth. Impressively, she proved compelled to tackle less personal material, making light work of Lauryn Hill’s notoriously complex bars during a joyous cover of Doo Wop (That Thing).

Though her confidence grew during the sets, there was a feeling that ENNY was still finding her feet as a performer. That experience felt most intense during Vibeout, which featured a scene-stealing cameo from her friend, singer/rapper Rae, however, it was a promising performance that made audience members feel privileged to be there at the start of their journey. Not least because it points to a much brighter future.

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