Dro Kenji – ‘WISH YOU WERE HERE’

Caught in love’s endless cycle as a lustful “ARSONIST,” Dro Kenji‘s new album, WISH YOU WERE HERE, is a magnum opus of heartbreak.

Released this past Friday (Aug. 18), the Internet Money prodigy has been fundamental in filling emo-rap’s void, left vacant by fallen legends in Juice WRLD, XXXTENTACION and Lil Peep. Penning a new chapter of his love-inflicted run, WYWH marks the budding South Carolina singer’s first album of 2023 and eighth project since his captivating debut, TEARS & PISTOLS, in 2020.

Renowned for encapsulating raw sentiments through resonant, relatable cuts, Kenji profoundly delves into the tricky nuances of heartbreak, battling the intoxicating vices he often resorts to over the course of 17 tracks. Efforts like “THROW UP” and “ATTACHMENT PROBLEMS” sonically nod the late Jarad Higgins (Juice WRLD), while standouts in “LISTEN,” “FASTER,” “TUG OF WAR” and “MYSELF” showcase Kenji’s unique pop appeal touting emotively powerful vocals — a testament to the prowess of producers in Nick Mira and Census, among others.

WYHY portrays a love-torn odyssey through Kenji’s rather agitated psyche, resounding with past recollections, remorse and fading resolutions. “PAMPER PAMPER,” crafted by Pro Era maestro Powers Pleasant and featuring “Do Not Disturb” teammate Mike Dimes (the record’s only feature who is set to join Dro on their co-tour this Fall), highlights Kenji’s persistent struggle against his inner turmoil. The essence of it all? Letting go is rarely as straightforward as it seems. However, there’s solace in recognizing that his pain, which is undeniably present throughout the LP, stands as the hallmark of genuineness in his music.

This is more evident on the percussion-less ballad “PICKING BATTLES,” where Kenji emphatically ponders the love scars he’s been scorned with. “I’m not so crazy, I’m falling apart,” he sings with high-pitched ad-libs behind him, sweltering with underwater chimes and grunge guitars; it’s gorgeous. Even if his message has remained the same throughout the years, his artistic evolution has never left its upward slope.

While Kenji is no stranger to rolling out multiple albums annually, it’s been nearly a year since he dropped his LP, ANYWHERE BUT HERE, which boasted star-studded features in DC The Don, KA$HDAMI, NoCap, Mike Dimes, and midwxst. This was succeeded by an array of projects like LOST IN HERE (2022), WOWY (2022), F*CK YOUR FEELINGS (2021), EAT YOUR HEART OUT (2021), RACE ME TO HELL (2020), and T&P (2020).

Wishing you were here, Kenji lets love take him off the deep end on WYWH — putting forth his most sonically immersive and poignant project to date.

Listen to ‘WISH YOU WERE HERE’ below!