If you spent any time in the Northeast this summer, it’s likely that you heard HoodCelebrityy’s “Walking Trophy,” which was a favorite of radio DJs. The track helped this Jamaica-born, New York City-based singer and occasional rapper earn a deal with Epic Records for a reported $600,000, and on Friday, she released Inna Real Life, her first EP as a major-label artist.
“Walking Trophy” was a self-esteem booster, and the bobbing synths and skipping beat — very similar to her 2017 track “Cut Them Off” — went down smoothly, offering a welcome relief from formulaic radio rap. Inna Real Life takes its cues from “Walking Trophy,” emphasizing innocuous melody, though nothing rivals the singer’s breakout hit. “Live Life” is a spend-your-way-to-happiness number with echoes of Gyptian’s dancehall smash “Hold Yuh.” “Get Low” pushes HoodCelebrityy into rote R&B. And on the EP’s title track, HoodCelebrityy lets her listeners know that major-label life ain’t half bad: “I been getting money when I feel like/ … Bitch, I’m really poppin’, this is not a hype.”
Inna Real Life arrived just a few days before New York City’s annual West Indian Day Parade, conveniently providing DJs with a new infusion of HoodCelebrityy music for their playlists. But the most interesting HoodCelebrityy song of the year isn’t on this EP. That honor goes to “Love Lost,” a grief-stricken duet with Josh X about a sex-less relationship that borrows from a pair of Nineties classics, Boyz II Men’s “Water Runs Dry” and Mad Cobra’s “Flex.” There’s specificity and urgency in “Love Lost,” qualities that are missing on Inna Real Life.