Finesse. -- The Last Genrebender

WHEN I FIRST HEARD FINESSE.’S MUSIC a few years back, I was not a fan. Not really sure what turned me off, might’ve felt like he wasn’t very unique - nothing really stood out to me. At the time, he came off as just another Soundcloud rapper that would just blend into the other thousands of artists out there in the same boat. So I did what I do with any other random Soundcloud artist: skipped that shit and planned on leaving his music in my past. Which I did… until enough people hyped him up that I had to give him a second chance. By now, I’ve been converted and fuck with his music but if anything, I’m more impressed with the complete artist that is “Finesse.” than I am with the performer who goes by the same stage name. Confused? Lemme explain.

I mention it in my PUTS piece (shameless plug, not sorry lol) but I really respect artists who do more than just write and perform lyrics. Hell some don’t even write their own lyrics. I may have some conflicting opinions on his music right now, but something Finesse. will never be is a one trick pony which I truly love. Most artists stop at beat making. Others at mixing and mastering. If PUTS took it one step further than the rest, Finesse. takes five. The music side isn’t enough for this dude, he’s also gotta go out and do his own visuals.

I could be wrong, but I believe that he personally shot a significant amount of his video for The Master Plan. Considering he’s featured in the video throughout, it’s incredibly impressive to see him flex his creative muscles to accomplish this. If anything, I think I appreciate this more now than I did when I first saw it. The homemade and zero budget video is nostalgic of an incredibly carefree time that feels so far from the present, even if it hasn’t even been 5 years since its release - guess that’s what a pandemic will do. And even if he isn’t the man behind the camera, he’s doing the editing and heavily influencing the final outcome of his music videos. Because he clearly leads a lot of the creative direction for his videos, the final product ends up telling the complete story he wants, typically being much more than just some cool visuals. This is where his personality shines through and there’s no better example than in his Just Another Thot music video where his humor plays out right next to his relatability.

Speaking of his relatability, to me that’s his strongest skill as a rapper. While I’m still not entirely sold on his sound being anything special, he sure as hell knows how to connect to audiences. This is an artist who lives his life chasing his dreams and isn’t afraid to talk about it. A lot of his shit focuses on his relationships with women, putting you in his shoes in a way that anyone who’s been in a relationship (so fucking everyone) can identify with. At the Party with PriyaTheMystic is a playful and seductive banger that anyone who doesn’t live in a shell will connect to. But so far, Strawberry Waffles might be his most relatable work yet. This is early Finesse. and the beat lays heavy on the lofi vibes, making it the perfect canvas to talk about an important relationship. This is done really well, always questioning whether or not he’s the one his girl thinks of despite their intimate, sexual relationship. While done simply, the repetition really emphasizes how much overthinking, and in some ways insecurities, can cloud your mind, distorting the reality of a relationship. No clue if this was his intention but the song really hits home for me because of it.

So let’s run it back real quick: Finesse. is an artist who writes, performs, produces, and engineers incredibly relatable music all while being heavily involved in the creative output of the visuals for his work? “Sounds like the dude should be popping off but why haven’t I heard of him?” Well, like I said earlier, I’m still not buying that he’s got a unique sound to his music. He makes good songs and he’s got a cool flow but what differentiates him from any other upcoming artist that falls into this genre-less realm that pop/alt rap has become? I see similarities between him and artists like Souly Had and Lonr. but to me both have a more distinct sound that you know belongs to them when you hear it.

Maybe there’s something else I’m not seeing or maybe I’m just hating (I’ve been known to do that), but to me that’s what’s holding him back from taking that leap. He’s laid out all the groundwork to jump off from, and he’s built it himself, but I’d love to see him take that step to become someone who stands out, not just because he can do it all (which he can and does well) but because you can recognize him instantly. That said, I am confident he’ll be able to figure this out - he’s leaned on the Russ method so far which makes me sure he’s ready to put in that extra effort that got Russ to where he is today. And what’s great about all this is he still has plenty of time to figure it out, allowing him a lot of space to fuck around with whatever sounds he wants. Until the day comes that he does, I’m hyped to see how his path plays out, arguably the most exciting part being that he’ll be the one to build up the entire thing himself.

PERSONAL FAVORITES: Too Exotic, Strawberry Waffles, Seventeen (feat. Swad), At the Party (PriyaTheMystic x Finesse.), The Old You

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