On the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College, Junior Ryan Henson is both a student athlete and a rising hip-hop artist. Henson plays soccer for the Wesleyan men’s team and is majoring in Political Science. In addition to team practices, training, traveling to games, and attending classes, Henson also spent six months working tirelessly alongside Pittsburgh’s I.D. Labs Producer and Engineer Sam Conturo to record his debut self-titled EP which garnered a fair amount of attention.
Recently he has been recording with lifelong friend and manager Corey Crumm in their apartment, on beats from local producers and has released the singles “Money (and Lightning too)” produced by Kwondo and “How Much Did I Drank” produced by 16 yr old.
It takes about twenty seconds for Ryan Henson to kick off “Money (and Lightning too)” and reveal his full intentions. When Kwondo’s bass heavy beat kicks in Henson’s soulful playful influence appears. It’s a style he’s particularly good at, and it makes his music entertaining.
Its where he puts his money where his mouth is. It’s purely vintage hip hop with a modern twist and Henson’s unique vocal approach all over it. It helps, too, that he is growing as a rapper. At the 53 second mark Henson goes for an incendiary flow that rivals anything many of his peers can spit. It’s pure skill on the mic.
Up next comes “How Much Did I Drank” produced by 16 yr old. The backing track is another heavy bass thumper, and Ryan Henson embraces levity. It’s witty, sharp, and most importantly, catchy as hell. The bridges and codas, complete with clapping-like effects, layered voices and an incessant rhyme scheme, are all off the hook.
It’s hip hop from an artist who understands his skills and knows how to work within his limitations. Henson embraces his abilities here better than ever, with a strong focus on his flow and rhyming. He is writing crowd-pleasing hip hop, and these tracks reveal how good he is at it. The tracks marry Henson’s freewheeling rhyming with some creative production touches which are really engaging.
You can tell Ryan Henson and his crew put everything they had into these works, and to be honest, I would much rather listen to someone who’s passion for the production, lyrics and flow comes through so clearly as it does here. This hip-hop thing is nothing new us anymore.
We’ve got legendary rappers major label groups and a lot of new dudes coming up into the game. But every now and you’ll find yourself a student of the craft, someone who is working hard at his education to do something undeniable in his genre. Ryan Henson is one of those guys. So let’s see where he takes us next!