Singled Out: How S. Raekwon builds to a perfect moment during his song “Talk”

Listen to the audio of the Singled Out feature breaking down S. Raekwon’s “Talk”

Audio Transcript:

Intro: So I’m obsessed with the song “Talk” by S. Raekwon. It’s this bite-sized, little song with no chorus and this great drum pattern. The whole thing builds to this moment that you wait for when he sings, “No you don’t want to talk about it.” And I just live for this moment, and needed to know how S. Raekwon achieves that moment, and how this whole satisfying song was made.

So we are giving S. Raekwon’s “Talk” the Singled Out treatment.

We caught up in the green room at DRKMTTR in East Nashville. He was wearing a pair of Adidas Sambas and a crisp white t-shirt.

S. Raekwon: My name is S. Raekwon. My full name is Steven Raekwon Reynolds, so that’s where the Raekwon comes from. Raekwon is my middle name.

Justin Barney: Where did this song start?

S. Raekwon: So it all started with this drum loop. It started with my chopping up a bunch of bass and low end from these hip-hop records. I was really interested in combining these elements of 90’s hip-hop with these softer, more intimate instruments, like the guitar and piano, but matching those with these really harsh break beats.

Justin Barney: Lyrically, where did it come from?

S. Raekwon: A lot of time artists, even though we sing about our emotions, I find it hard to talk actually about my emotions. I have been with my partner for a long time, and this song, it’s kind of about, you know, you need to talk it out. There is a line in the song: “I know you don’t want to talk about it. But I’ll show you what you mean to me.” So it’s about talking about your emotions, but showing your emotions in your day-to-day actions can be what’s even more important than talking.

Justin Barney: Have you listened to the Dijon album?

S. Raekwon: Yoooooo! This is crazy. I love Dijon.

So when I first signed to Father/Daughter, Tyler, who does A&R ,was like “You remind me of this artist Dijon.” And I had never heard of him and I was like, “Oh, I’ll check him out.” And I listened and was like, “This is my favorite artist.” So I’m really big into Dijon. There is this song “Many Times” and this line where he sings “And I don’t really want to talk about it.” I think it was just one of those things were I just listened to that song so much, I just love that album so much, that it found it’s way into the song, and it felt appropriate to reference it in that way. It wasn’t something I was explicitly trying to do, but I think it is cool to be in conversation with artists that you’re really into.

S. Raekwon: I just want to make songs that are really direct, with simple chords, that are two minutes or under. I don’t want anything to drag on.