When I was in high school, I tried to rap and sing the popular Eminem/Rihanna duet “Love the Way You Lie” as part of the talent show. It was as a single person, not as part of a duet, and it went about as well as you’d expect. For most people, there’s generally a strong association of embarrassment or misguided nostalgia when they reflect on high school years. I can’t recall a single alumnus that had already begun setting the groundwork for a career in anything, let alone a career in something as lofty as the arts. The sheer confidence that comes with releasing an EP and then an album when you’re just barely out of high school is a tall order, but after discovering DICI, the idea that some people are born more than primed to deliver on such an outlandishly ambitious concept becomes slightly easier to swallow.
DICI, pronounced “Dee-Chee,” began his musical career when most were instead spiraling into cabin fever bread-making or DIY haircuts amid a global pandemic that began last year. The initial push for him to pursue becoming a musician came from a Kenny Beats video on YouTube; before lockdown, he and a friend had spent their free time making beats and focusing on production but when isolation began to set in, so did restlessness, and when Kenny Beats spoke on the productivity and devotion needed to make it, that eventually led to 12-plus hours a day just focusing entirely on music outside of the bare necessities. The EP worked as a small introduction to DICI as an artist, but if “Five Rings” is anything to go off of, the upcoming debut album DOSES will be a much more significant, groundbreaking declaration that introduces DICI as an influencer and creative force.
The brass needed to cite Japanese swordsman legend Miyamoto Musashi’s “The Book of Five Rings” with his debut single that’s in turn leading up to his debut album is huge, but DICI surprisingly has the credits to back it up. “The book is all about working hard and sticking to one’s training, but to me ‘Five Rings’ could also be referring to the fact that my debut EP had five songs and those were my initial ‘rings’ that everyone could hear.” The depth of the backstory behind a single song reaches further than most might expect, and DICI’s entire schtick seems to lead to something of this sort; there’s more that meets the eye. When you’re pitched the concept of a high school-aged rapper, you generally don’t think of someone like DICI as a first impulse.
DICI’s talent is more than flexed across “Five Rings,” with gorgeous instrumental production complementing his ability to not only sing but rap. The song never feels suffocating, working as a testament to DICI’s good ear concerning his vocal timbre — the performance difference between verses and chorus is distinct enough to provide a good texture across the track. DOSES is already beginning on the right foot, and I’m certain DICI hasn’t even gotten started.