“Chasing Summer” review: SiR drops masterful R&B gem

Kyle Atkinson

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To put it simply, 2019 has been quite a strange year for hip hop and R&B compared to the last few years. We haven’t seen many of the biggest names in the genres release projects and I’m not sure if they actually plan on it. But even in a “down year”, we can still see many great projects drop from those that aren’t as well known. 

One of these lesser-known artists that thankfully ended up dropping a project is Inglewood, California singer SiR. If you are unfamiliar with SiR, he is a melodic R&B singer that is signed to Top Dawg Entertainment. He has featured on recent TDE albums including 90059 and The Sun’s Tirade. He released his first project with Top Dawg, November, in January of 2018. 

November was met with high praise from many, meaning that its follow up is expected to be great as well. This new project contains big name features from labelmates Kendrick Lamar and Zacari as well as Lil Wayne, Smino, and more. Let’s jump in and see what SiR has for us this time around! 

First impressions

  • The Good: During my first listen through this project, I was really surprised at how consistent it sounded throughout. That isn’t a bad thing at all. I enjoyed how each track sounded slightly similar but also had its own distinct sounds that made it unique.  
  • The Bad: This isn’t a huge knock on SiR himself, but I feel like he got outshined a bit on some of the tracks that had featured artists. For example, Kendrick Lamar absolutely crushed his verse and Sabrina Claudio basically took “That’s Why I Love You” over and made it her own.

Lyrics/Flow

  • The Good: One thing that I really like about this project is how personal we see SiR in his lyrics. We hear him introspectively examine his relationships on “You Can’t Save Me” and his self confidence issues on “Hair Down”, among other topics on subsequent tracks. He has a beautiful singing voice and switches it up enough to keep it an interesting listen throughout. 
  • The Bad: This isn’t really a huge knock on SiR seeing as all of the songs are pleasing to the ears, but I would really like to hear him explore more uptempo flows on his tracks. I understand that this is an R&B album but vocal experimentation, especially for someone with such a great voice, isn’t a bad thing at all.
  • Score: 8.8/10

Beats 

  • The Good: Right off the top you see that the album’s production is something that SiR really cared about while creating it. Each beat has its own unique flavor and distinct sound and they sound different enough from each other. SiR is a master at creating different vibes on his tracks because he puts it on full display here.    
  • The Bad: Even though the beats are good quality on this project, I can’t help but feel like we could have still had more diverse sounds. I would have liked to hear more like “Fire” and “Touch Down” to see what SiR can really do. Nonetheless, that isn’t a huge knock because the album is beautiful for what it is. 
  • Score: 8/10

Replayability

  • The Good: I’ve been waiting for this section. I could go on and on about how replayable this album is but I’ll say it simply: please listen fully more than once. It only gets better as you keep listening and that’s a special quality these days. Not many albums can still be interesting after a few listens but this one definitely is. The diversity of sound is great and it doesn’t all blend together so you don’t get bored.  
  • The Bad: The only negative about this project’s replayability is that it is pure R&B in hip hop’s world. If you aren’t a huge R&B fan, you may not want to listen more than once. Don’t go in thinking that it’ll sound anything like another TDE project because you may be disappointed when it’s not.
  • Score: 8.5/10

Standouts

Final thoughts

Don’t you love when you discover a lesser-known artist and they become one of your favorites in a short time? That’s how I feel about SiR. I first listened to November about 6 months after it dropped in 2018. “D’evils” immediately became one of my favorite tracks of the year and I still have it in rotation now. If you have yet to hear it, please click that link and check it out. 

Once I had digested November, I was fiending for some new music from this man. He was silent for a minute but once he announced “Hair Down” with K. Dot, I was super intrigued and hyped. The album announcement came shortly after that and only raised my expectations.

If you haven’t already figured it out, I absolutely loved listening to Chasing Summer. The project had the amazing R&B that I was hoping for, along with some great surprises and features. I think that TDE has a rising star (at least I hope so) in SiR. He can only go up from here in my opinion. I think that I like this new album even more than I liked November, which was a lot in its own right. 

Even if you aren’t the biggest R&B fan, I would still urge you to check this project out. It is simply too good to ignore and has at least one track you’ll enjoy. You will be seeing Chasing Summer on album of the year lists at the end of 2019, bet on it. 

Final Score: 8.6/10

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any images in this piece.