Cincinnati singer Arin Ray isn’t a household name yet, but it’s only a matter of time until he is. His Interscope-backed debut album, Platinum Fire, inexplicably flew way under the radar when it released last month, yet it’s currently one of the best R&B projects of the year, with features from big names like Ty Dolla Sign, DRAM, and YG, who features on the first single from the project, “We Ain’t Homies.” The stripped-down music video, directed by Dad, is above.
Ray’s about to blow up, so he knows he’s about to have a lot of “new friends.” “We Ain’t Homies” is the preemptive reminder to all the folks trying to get into his circle now that he’s on that they don’t really know him like that. Of course, YG, rap’s current guest verse king after his appearances on tracks with Nipsey Hussle, 2 Chainz, and Belly, delivers another standout verse, with what might be my favorite flex of 2018: “I got white friends now, that’s how you know I’m poppin’!”
Ray isn’t actually as much of a newcomer as he may appear, however. His original introduction to the music business came almost six years ago as a contestant on singing competition show The X-Factor. He was mentored by Britney Spears on the show and finished 10th. He’s apparently laid low since, honing on his songcraft on tracks for John Legend, Nicki Minaj, and Rick Ross, and it’s clearly paid off. Don’t be surprised if Arin Ray ends up on a lot of year-end lists come December. Platinum Fire has been a slow burn, but it’s showing all the signs of an underground success just waiting for the right opportunity to explode to the surface.