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MSQ Review: Dyfferant - "Blk Sky, Yllw"

Richmond artist, Dyfferant has just released her highly anticipated album “Blk Sky,Yllw” and it's obvious why familiar Dyff fans were excited about the project, and it's clear that new Dyff fans are about to be made.

I can think of 100 descriptive phrases for Dyfferant’s unique, genre-bending sound but I’m not sure any would be more accurate than her own words:

“I make girl music for hood n****s.”

I’m not sure exactly what that means but it definitely feels right... and so does everything Dyff does sonically on this album. She effortlessly switches in and out of rapping and singing on the same track (sometimes the same verse!) And there’s not a style of rapping or singing that she can’t pull off. She has boom-bap raps, she has melodic mumble flows, she belts out big moments, she subtly croons. It’s all there.

Her most unique skill and what this album’s foundation is built on and maybe even hinted at in the abbreviated, abstract title, “Blk Sky,Yllw” —is Dyff’s ability to set a mood and serve a vibe with minimal and sometimes no words at all. The album’s host, Richmond media personality, Snootie at one point calls her “the city’s siren” and I think that’s an excellent characterization. Dyff’s melodic moans and wordless notes create an ambiance that brings depth to beats and touches a part of your brain and soul that traditionally delivered lyrics just cannot. The best example of this is most likely the lead single from the project, “Zoom,” where she perfectly offsets baritone lyrics with falsetto background vocals and vice versa.

Despite the widely varied musical styles, it's all unmistakably Dyff. The buildups and come-downs in tempo and tone feel intentional and come off like a perfect one-woman 5 o’clock drive-time mix on the radio, so the aforementioned Snootie narration (styled like a radio DJ) feels appropriate and brings even more cohesion to the project.

Being an active, visible veteran on the scene and as a prolific videographer, we knew Dyff would have great features and production on this album. Two of the city's best beatsmiths, Dizzy Wunda and Clef Majorz do not disappoint on "WYA" and "Green Potion," respectively. The girl power is strong on "Blk Sky, Yllw" and it's bolstered by a solid feature from the female emcee, AyeShaye on the Southern-fried "Spree Wheels," but the fellas represent this thing too. Frequent Dyfferent collaborator, Stayathomedad brings along his favorite producer, Rasneek on the infectious "Outside," (also featuring Artae), and RellXXX slides on "Incense" smoothly as well.

Whether this is girl music for thugs or thug music for girls or whatever you want to call it-- definitely got something for everybody. "Blk Sky, Yllw" is an amazingly well-crafted showcase for an undeniable voice. This is not your average indie effort right here. Peep the Dyff for yourself!

Written by: Zach Kirby (@itskirbs804)

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