DAWN, aka former Danity Kane member-turned-experimental R&B auteur Dawn Richard, shared two singles Wednesday, following her previous double single that included “Ay Papi” and “Slim Thicc” in November. The double single includes new tracks “Die Without You” and “Buttah.” In a statement, Richard explains, “This series of singles marks the start of a new era. new breed was the introduction to my roots. This era dives in each to each cultural influence specifically, highlighting all the pop influences I’ve experienced with cultural flare.” Each release Richard has provided has had a core central thesis, from her reflective and exploratory album trilogy ending with 2016’s Redemption to the recent NOLA love letter new breed.
“Die Without You” opens with filtered guitar, giving it a noir, almost post-punk sound. It then charges full-force into trappy R&B, serving a dark, trunk-bouncing track with a ton of attitude. If you could describe it in a word, it’d be “drama,” exemplary of Richard’s knack for turning emotion into something mythological, something larger than life.
“Buttah,” then, delves into more traditional R&B sounds, also featuring guitar but serving the track in a much different manner, morphing into a sweet, domestic love song that wouldn’t feel out of place in Jill Scott or India.Arie’s catalogues. “We go together like bread and butter, you’re introducing me to your mother,” she yells. “You got me feeling like a teenager.” The song has a pure clarity, with her voice more unembellished than it is on the auto-tuney “Die Without You.” Her acrobatics as she draws out “smooth” are saccharine and honeyed, with the track ending on distant New Orleans brass, reminding us of her new breed sound.
You can check out both singles below, plus DAWN’s 2018 Paste Studio session, and revisit our 2016 interview with the artist here.