C.K. Marion’s “Dreamer”
Although it’s not quite the agent of intimidation that it becomes later on in the track, there’s still something quite potent and ominous about the beat that we start off C.K. Marion’s “Dreamer” with. A sense of danger precludes the melody from founding overtly faint and minimalistic for what the intro to this song demands, and as we get closer to the verses, it becomes clear that what we’re being warned of is the razor-sharp attack Marion’s vocal is about to lay out for all to enjoy. She’s got a rapping dynamic that is fierce beyond compare this summer, and it’s poised to blow up the underground in a big way here.
The OG vibe in Marion’s delivery is one thing, but the business she’s conducting via this bassline is not stuck in the old school at all. On the contrary, I’m picking up a moderate rock influence here that she’s skewing with worldly components often relegated to more experimental forms of music outside the realm of melodic hip-hop. She’s an artist who loves to push the envelope, and even if I wasn’t the indie-adoring critic that I undeniably am, I think her smoothly-executed design of this single is one too bold to resist in any circumstances.
These verses are channeling a straightforwardness that I’ve found to be mostly missing from the contemporary hip-hop coming out of the east coast in the past couple of years, and I can see Marion’s agile vocal catalyzing their emotional subtext in a way that other rappers would fail to do with their own skills. When you’ve got the kind of fire in your belly that this player does, there’s no slowing down when you’ve got a good idea, and a lot of that urgency in the lyrics of “Dreamer” reflects what I believe to be her core process as a songwriter as well.
The worldbeat influence on this track is also one that’s pretty hard to miss if you take apart the arrangement and appreciate just how fluidly this complicated tempo comes together here. I think there’s no need to debate whether or not Marion is taking a lot of different elements into her sound and making them one giant amalgamation of self and melodic substance the same, and if even a handful of her rivals were to consider adopting a similar approach to the medium, hip-hop might start to feel like the future rather than just the present in popular music.
Eclectic but not quite the surreal sound that I’ve been hearing almost everywhere in the underground lately, C.K. Marion’s “Dreamer” is a force to be reckoned with from an artist who I respect more with every song she drops. Recruitment was one heck of a blueprint, and now four years and a whole new presidency later, Marion is beginning to sound more like the master than the student and deserves a good chunk of the spotlight that comes with such a lofty position in her scene. “Dreamer” is her new standard, and one that’s going to be hard for the haters to match – let alone top.