Much of Sene’s early success can be directly attributed to his involvement with Blu. But it wasn’t until the Brooklyn MC broke free from that association that he was able to find a musical comfort zone of his own. His 2012 effort Brooklyknight was a solid step up from the Blu-produced A Day Late & A Dollar Short, but it was clear he just wasn’t reaching his full potential. With a melodic mindset and rap as a vehicle, perhaps things just needed to be switched up a bit for Sene to see things turn out the way he always thought they could.
That’s where Denitia comes in, and more importantly, R&B. Rap worked for Sene, it truly did. But the more you listened, the more you could tell it was holding him back from reaching his true calling. Writing songs for himself and the lovely voice of Denitia, backed by whispering, silky smooth production, just seemed to work. Right off the bat, with the release of the blah blah blah EP, it was evident this male/female duo had something special on their hands. And, thankfully, it sprouted a full-length record in His And Hers.
Ticking in at just 35 minutes, Sene and Denitia’s debut album is the perfect length to draw the listener in without asking too much of them. With lullaby-esque rhythms like “trip.fall.” and “again. (new ride.)”, the lack of tempo might lose a few people. Luckily, where similar sounding groups like the Weeknd or even the xx fell victim to monotony, this duo is able to pick things up every now and then with a slapping track like “stupid world” or “she’s not the only one”. That additional spice of tempo and pace can be attributed to Sene’s hip-hop background, mixed with a small dose of production from longtime collaborators like J57 and Illingsworth.
What sets this R&B album apart from the many other similar outfits out there operating within the genre is how organic and natural it feels. Sene and Denitia, musically, are two peas in a pod. They know when to let the other have their shine, like on “how to satisfy.”, which features Denitia, alone, rocking out to an incredibly infectious pop soundscape. On the other hand, when the two decide to share vocal responsibilities, like on “casanova.”, Denitia hums in the background at just the right time while Sene pours his heart out over the microphone.
Reflecting on this album after several listens, it’s difficult to find much fault. Perhaps one could hold Sene’s less-than-powerful voice against him, but he makes it work all too well. The songwriting, while naive at times, grasps exactly what this duo set out to achieve: lovable pop songs with a hint of loneliness. But what failed to put this album over the top is that there are only a handful of songs to which you can truly sing along. That aside, the sequencing is on target, and everything flows together rather smoothly. It’s safe to say Denitia and Sene have a real winner on their hands with His And Hers.