Brazen, brash, and full of bravado, newcomer DICI is back with a demeanor that would make you think he’s not only established but at least a few years out of high school… and you would be right to assume this, based on the levels of confidence he exudes, but factually incorrect regarding his age. Having only literally just graduated from high school, DICI is someone who has already done more than most do in their entire lives if his glamorous lyrics are to be believed. Raised simultaneously in Miami and Milan as a biracial teen, DICI has had his work cut out for him regarding his ambitions for forging a path as a teenage rapper within the confines of a global pandemic.
Once more back into the fold with the new single “Five Rings” off of the upcoming seven-track album DOSES due out this Fall, DICI has been all but quiet in the last year. Making his initial breach into the music industry with his self-titled EP, things were clear from the start that DICI wouldn’t be taking things slow. The benefit of being a teenager in music means having your ear to the ground, and for DICI this allowed him to further his reach with audiences using social media to not only advertise but more importantly connect with fans and supporters. The teenage mindset is one most artists above twenty wish they could tap into and in the end, it all plays out in futility; luckily for DICI, he’s the man on the inside.
“Five Rings” functions as a great piece of introductory material to the attitude and artistic stylings of DICI — for those not aware of his EP, this will certainly serve as a great piece of music to start on as he hones in not only on his flow and rhythmic dissection of the beat but his harmonies with the layered, melodic chorus. The production is crisp, opening with a gorgeous piano that serves as the basis for the bassline across the nearly three-minute runtime. The instrumental features a unique flute-like sound that accompanies the piano and percussion and it greatly complements DICI’s pipes. The lyrical matter is surprisingly very mature and deep for someone recently out of high school, but when DICI cited “The Book of Five Rings” a 17th Century text on kejutsu and the martial arts written by Miyamoto Musashi as the basis for the song’s title, it was clear that DICI wasn’t just some confident teen. DICI says, “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. For the hook, I was sitting on the balcony late at night, exhausted, just listening to some beats on repeat. I was a bit zoned out and the hook just hit me out of nowhere.”
In less than a single whirlwind year – from summer 2020 to spring 2021 – 17 year old Japanese American DICI has evolved from freestyling rhymes and mastering Pro Tools in his bedroom to emerging rap star with thousands of worldwide followers, a popular critically acclaimed indie EP on his own label (DICI Records, LLC) and an explosive new album on the way.
DICI is certainly an artist worth watching as he’s only just getting started. The influences within his work feel hard to pin down as he often shapeshifts whatever’s on his mind into feeling like something that’s totally, wholly his approach — most musical veterans can’t accomplish something like this, but DICI isn’t afraid to give anything a try.