IRAI Ouree is a name that we here at 1DF have supported for a good bit of time now. The Baton Rouge native caught our ear with his blend of styles that range the spectrum of R&B and Rap. His ever-changing approach in which shifts from song to song is something that not everyone can match, separating him from a lot of his peers. It’s showcased once again on his new project “JUST BEECAUSE”.
“My main goal was to give my fans new content and also help get myself out of my rut I was in. I was going through a drought of not releasing music as fast as I wanted to and being uninspired. This project helped me to remind myself why I do this and proving we are destined to do this shit. It really helped me regain my focus. I made it pretty quickly, over the span of about a month it is written and recorded.”
The project begins with a slow buildup that creates anticipation for the listener. Piano keys gradually lead into a chior accompanying before we here these words from IRAI Ouree: “and at that moment I knew we were destined to do this shit just because”. I must admit on first listen the way things started off really caught my attention so props to him for that. As “Just Beecause” really kicks off the biggest thing that sticks out to me is IRAI’s outstanding flow pattern. He changes styles throughout and it all meshes with the now-frantic production driven by the piano keys. The content is pretty good here too as he talks about the obstacles in his way and how he refuses to allow them keep him from his ultimate goal of success.
“Remind Me” follows and sees the MC feeling fully comfortable in his position as a loner. The organ is the production backdrop this time as he again lets off some ferocious flows with meanginful content. I’m not sure exactly what inspired this particular record but I will say the way he delivers it leads the listener to believe it’s inspired by someone, or a few people, in specific. “If I’m sleeping remind me, cause sometime I zone all alone and I need some reminding. These n*ggas slimey, can’t trip on these b*tches my passport and visa expired.” This line comes from the hook, and as scathing as they are it only goes to show just how important it was for IRAI Ouree to get this off his chest.
The moody vibe carried thus far on “JUST BEECAUSE” switches a bit on the catchy single “New Bezel”. With frequent collaborater Saze in tow both MC’s deliver some bars on more of a braggadocious note than those on some of the other records here. IRAI Ouree does all he can to top a strong guest feature and I do believe he is able to do just that, delivering one of my favorite verses of his on the whole tape on this one. I must admit I found myself rewinding it a few times to catch all the lines from both rappers. Well done.
Next up is “Come for Me”, which probably carries the distinction of best beat on the mixtape for me. I’m a fan of production that is a bit unorthodox and this one has a lot of different sounds. IRAI Ouree again does a great job filling the beat out with some nice lines to match his speedy flows. I don’t feel like most rappers would pick this beat but he truly takes hold of it, seemingly with ease.
The artist slows things down a bit to cater to the ladies on “Perfect”. IRAI Ouree has made his mark in Baton Rouge in part to his versatility, once again that trait is showcased here. He takes more of an approach catering to melodies rather than an outright mission to drop bars. While not one of my favorites here I could seeing being more appealing to some other listeners with different preferences.
In terms of the message powering the song, “Friends and Strangers” easily carries the most meaningful content. Here IRAI Ouree weighs the difference between the people only around for a season or two and those around for life. The message shows that there is some depth in the layers of thinking from the artist and it doesn’t come off as forced.
IRAI Ouree ends his opus with the previously released “Golden” featuring Sazé and Solid Khuf. While not what I would considsr the best fit to end a project, the song still is pretty catchy. With strong features and a hook that makes it a fit for club play I can see why it was included on the mixtape.
Overall I found “JUST BEECAUSE” to be a fun listen. Not much has dropped in the indie circuit of the southeast so far this year but I can say with earnest that this was one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve come across from the area in 2019. IRAI Ouree is a master of flows and flexes that throughout the entire mixtape. The flaws that I see here is a bit of a lack of cohesion as there really isn’t a clear and dedicated sound. I also believe the tape starts a bit stronger than it ends. All things considered though “JUST BEECAUSE” will certainly be in my rotation and should be in yours as well.