Dounia’s highly anticipated debut EP, Intro To, finally dropped this past Friday. After releasing a few singles in the past year, this 20 year-old activist/model/singer-songwriter has gifted the universe with her first project. She masterfully uses a 90s alternative R&B sound and her velvety rap-singing style to reflect on who she is and everything she’s been through in order to stay on her grind. The album is short and sweet with a concise 8 tracks, but she wastes no time filling it with bars and lyrical content that add substance to the dreaminess and vibes of it all.
She opens the project with “Clueless” and “Status,” previously unreleased songs that go off over dreamy R&B beats and ooze confidence with lines such as “I ain’t never trip and I ain’t never fall” and “I only get better/I only make moves.” She then brings it back with her debut single “East Coast Hiding,” a track she dropped with no label or distribution in January earlier this year. She stuns with sharp lyricism as well as poetic and vivid imagery throughout the whole song: “Flowers in my hair but I rip ‘em out at night/Oceanic wet dreams for the love we can’t find.” She slips a line in Arabic in “Casablanca,” subtlely flaunting her Moroccan heritage. She starts to wrap up the EP with “Dressed Up,” an unflinching number boasting “Ain’t play hard to get, I just am” and “Said he lost me to the hustle well I’m humbled amen/Amen Amen no men.” She ends with the glorious “Shyne,” a classic Ima-stunt-on-all-y'all anthem that also gets very real about her heavy costs of pursuing success, touching upon her family’s debt and living up to her mom’s expectations: “Cause I ain’t got the means, your mama gettin’ tired…But I hope I make you proud still momma/Hope I hold a Grammy up like a diploma.”
Intro To is cohesive, fire, and beautiful. It balances bangers with the introspective and personal. It’s impossible for her nonconformity and realness to not strike a chord with us. Her persona is simultaneously unapologetic and grounded and it shows through her music. All the love to Dounia for repping women of color, Queens, and my city; she’s definitely one to watch and here to stay.
Recommended Tracks: East Coast Hiding, So Cool, Dressed Up, Shyne, but honestly just the whole thing