(Re)introducing Rye Rye

M.I.A. protege is back with her debut solo album and a hit YouTube video

  • Rye Rye performs at Bourbon Street Saturday.
Rye Rye performs at Bourbon Street Saturday. (Handout photo )
December 16, 2010|By Erik Maza, The Baltimore Sun

It wasn't clear the crowd knew who she was.

It's possible that, with her spandex onesie and lopsided blonde wig, they might even have taken her for a hometown girl. So halfway through a Miami show earlier this month, she felt the need to point out who the relentless 19-year-old dancer and singer on stage was.

"I go by the name Rye Rye," she said." R-y-e R-y-e."

It's been two years since the Baltimore rapper first came to prominence and then disappeared to have a child. So for most of 2010, she's been touring and introducing herself all over again. On Saturday, she'll stop at Bourbon Street for a sold-out show.

Rye Rye was first noticed when she was 16 by British rapper M.I.A., who plucked her out of obscurity and signed her to her vanity label at Interscope Records. The rapper made a few track guest appearances, toured with the provocative Brit and made plans to complete an album.

But before she could finish it, she retired temporarily to have a daughter. The album "Go! Pop! Bang!" was finally completed this year and will be released in February.

To promote it, she released the album's first single, "Sunshine," in October and an accompanying video featuring M.I.A. that's been seen a million times already on YouTube. She's also been touring nonstop for most of the year — first with M.I.A. and later on her own.

Rye Rye was in Miami for Art Basel, where she performed at two gigs; local DJ Blaqstarr, who introduced her to M.I.A., also performed twice in South Florida.

At a Saturday show inside a former yoga sanctuary that looked like a medieval castle — that's Miami for ya! — Rye Rye took the stage for a breezy, high-energy show that likely previewed her gig at Bourbon Street.

Flanked by three male backup dancers who barely kept up with her dancing, she performed "Wassup Wassup," "Hardcore Girls" and the awesomely funny "Witch Doctor."

After she finished off the night by surprisingly sampling Miley Cyrus' cheesy-fun "Party in the U.S.A." during "Shake It to the Ground," it's likely many in the crowd remembered her name.

Rye Rye will perform Saturday at Bourbon Street, 316 Guilford Ave. The show is sold out. Doors open at 8 p.m.

—Erik Maza

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