ATL’s Ralo makes thoughtful trap music, with equal parts rattling hi-hats and depth of feeling. Today, Ralo recruits fellow high-pitched barker Shy Glizzy to discuss institutional racism in the criminal justice system on “Dear Your Honor.” Rhyming over DJ Plugg’s plaintive piano, rubbery bass, and syncopated handclaps, Ralo draws a direct line from poverty to crime rates, excoriating judges across the nation for locking up a disproportionate number of black men: “Who the fuck wanna be poor?/Who the fuck wanna be broke?/I’d rather sell some dope.” Premiered today by Noisey, “Dear Your Honor” is the latest single from Ralo’s Birdman-hosted mixtape Diary of the Streets II, hitting the internet on August 30th. Ralo also recently released the eighth chapter of his video diary, which details his life on the streets of Atlanta, on YouTube.
Ralo explains the origin of “Dear Your Honor” to Noisey: “‘Dear Your Honor’ is worthy of attention. Its mainly for all the judges giving young black men, like myself, long prison sentences without getting to know the individual. They wouldn’t attempt to get to know me. I wrote this song while I was in prison, and after connecting with Shy Glizzy and learning his story, I knew he had to get on this record. Shy Glizzy and I are both Muslim; we’ve developed a strong brotherhood and talk on the phone every day.”
Terrell Davis, known as Ralo, started rapping when he was 11-years-old, eventually gaining notoriety in the Atlanta trap scene and working with artists like Future and Young Scooter, Ralo founded #Famerican, a music movement and community foundation under his direction. Featuring guest appearances from Future, Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Shy Glizzy and Birdman himself, Diary of the Streets II is a monument to Ralo’s stature on the streets, packed with melodic trap anthems and impressive songwriting about a wide array of topics that affect Ralo in his everyday life. Last week, Ralo recruited three of America’s hottest rappers for the Complex-premiered “Flexing on Purpose,” a monstrous, lurching turn-up banger with a massive hook from Lil Uzi Vert as well as verses from Vert,Young Thug, who brings his signature gonzo wordplay, and 21 Savage, with his nonchalant menace. Though that level of star power would dwarf a lesser artist, Ralo rises to the occasion, shining with his trademark charisma. With production from Southside, DJ Plugg, Weezy, and Goose, Diary of the Streets II is a unique approach to the Atlanta sound, elevated by Ralo’s depth and force of personality
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