By Elise Montemayor
Los Angeles based artist Deb Never has something special with a lofi and emo hip-hop blend in her music. She is WEDIDIT’s (D33J and Shlohmo) first female artist signed to the dance/hip hop label. Earlier this year, she supported Tommy Genesis on the God Is Wild tour, and she featured on Brockhampton’s “No Halo.” It’s safe to say that she’s been booked and busy, and it’s only the beginning.
Dating back to childhood, Never always had a passion for performing. As she stated in an interview for Complex, Never would always pick up a faux guitar and “pretend” that she was the “frontman” in one of her favorite bands. Growing up in the Washington State area, Never sought inspiration from Nirvana, evident in her grungy/raw hip hop sound today.
As time went on, she turned to writing her own material and self teaching herself the guitar by ear. After moving to Los Angeles, Never started posting lofi demos on Soundcloud. The single “Mr. Nobody” was the one to put her on the map, which, in return, got her collaborations with D33J and Shlohmo and got her signed with a record label. Under WEDIDIT records, Never released her debut EP House on Wheels.
Having a bigger production with House On Wheels, you can clearly hear Never’s growth, from being an artist on Soundcloud to a level of professionality. Starting with the track “Ugly,” you feel like you’re looking at a toxic relationship from the outside in. The song has a simple piano melody at the beginning then moves on to Never’s angelic yet heartwrenching vocals. When the loud and rough bass drops, it feels like a punch in the face. The song mixes pretty melodies and rough beats to make the you feel these clashed feelings of sweetness and messiness that is reflected in the lyrics as well. It’s honestly a beautiful song that feels like an entry right out of Never’s diary.
But let’s talk about the video for a second! With dog jumpsuits to ice cream trucks and a Matt Champion cameo, these visuals do a great job giving the song a bit more color, but still keeping the emotional undertones. I would definitely listen to the song before watching the video and compare/contrast for yourself.
Moving on to the track “Swimming” has its share of brooding lyrics and a rough hip hop beat with a looping guitar riff throughout. Never sings, “Treat me like you give a F**k about me now,” having a more direct message about a relationship with an absence of trust. It punches the listener in the face by making them feel as though they are part of this relationship with the artist, therefore really feeling what the lyrics portray.
Lastly, the final song on the EP, “DKWYWFM” (Don’t Know What You Want From Me) is personally one of my favorite songs off of this project. All I can say about this song is that it’s raw, powerful and beautiful. It starts as a heartbreaking ballad with only Never’s grungy vocals and spaced guitar. There’s then what is almost like an orchestral movement that elevates the track to a dreamier, movie-like feel. At the end, there’s a sense of heartbreak with the last lyric, “Don’t know what you want from me,” and sad ambient keyboards. The fact that this version is just a demo amazes me.
Deb Never is an artist on the rise that will change the way people see emo hip-hop. Having this amazing EP under her belt, her next project will reflect even more growth from the young artist. So do yourself a favor and give her a listen, you wont regret it.