Mohawks, skinny jeans, and lyrics about romantic angst have BEEN a thing. But all three from a cool-ass chick with a sultry voice and an assortment of quirky band mates, and suddenly the odd future of R&B (no pun intended) is in view.
Delivering a soulful jazz-like vibe with an edge (e.g., “Fast Lane” from Purple Naked Ladies), Syd Bennett and her band (aka The Internet) may no longer be obscure music nerds hiding out in their parents’ basement. But even amidst mainstream success, The Internet does things their own way. And here are four reasons why I’m glad their unique persona is here to stay:
They defy cultural categories. Everything about these six young Black bandmates, known for jammin’ out in tees and trucker hats, is unpredictable. Ignoring labels seems to be something that comes naturally for the whole crew, as cofounder Matt Martians pointed out during their interview with Vibe Magazine.
“…there are other avenues of music you can go down as a Black kid when you’re young…if you really put in the work and really try to bridge gaps and try to do something different.”
They gave no fucks when creating their band name. Originally starting off as a joke during the band’s unnamed days, Martians (aka Matt Martin) became tired of people asking where they were from, and began answering with, “the internet.” But of course, Martians and Syd—both former members of Tyler the Creator’s Odd Future collective—truly did meet on the internet (MySpace to be exact).
Syd’s funky, mellow, smooth stage presence is an homage to D’Angelo. The 23-year-old songstress studies R&B videos and performances to gain inspiration, and admits having a desire to captivate her audience like D’Angelo does. This is an impressive standard, especially since Syd never actually planned to be the singer of the group.
“I wanted to be…the one who made the beats and was in the music video with the girls.”
Gender and sexuality labels can’t box their music in. The juxtaposition of Syd’s ultra-femme voice and androgynous look is a topic that gets brought up way too often when addressing the music. As one of the few openly gay artists in R&B/hip-hop, Syd has made it clear that gender identity and sexual preference is the last thing she wants to focus on.
“Personally, I never really wanted to bring attention to my sexuality – not because I’m not proud, but because I didn’t think it should matter…My songs are about women, but that’s just me writing about what I know.”
The Internet’s music stays true to who they are. It’s different, it’s funky, and it sounds fucking great. So cheers to all the weirdos out there who aren’t afraid to be who they truly are, who DGAF about what the world thinks. You are the ones who make hits. You are the ones who make history.