H.E.R, letters that stand for Having Everything Revealed, contradictorily represents a talented female singer and songwriter, who for long, and to an extent continues to wear the faceless brand as she seeks to shift the focus in the direction of her music and away from her looks.

The singer named Gabi Wilson, recently lost out to Beyonce in the Best Female R&B/Pop and New Artist category to SZA at the 2018 BET Awards, but won the heart of many on social media following her solo performance at the event.

In her interview on The Angie Martinez Show earlier in the year, she explains her veiled outlook, ''Honestly, it is not even like hiding or shying away, I feel like for a while, we have kind of lost the focus on what is important, and that is the music, it should not be about the faces, association or number of followers.

It is not a popularity contest, it should always be about the music and that is why real R&B is coming back.''

And delivering real R&B is her aim with the release of her latest EP, ''I Used to Know Her: The Prelude'', which dropped on Friday, August 3rd as the front-runner to her official debut studio album.

The 6 track project features guest appearances by DJ Scratch and singer, Bryson Tiller.

As much as love and tales of heartbreak are the prominent features of her songs, there is also room for women advocacy and self-empowerment, and this she portrays on the first two songs on the project.

The E.P opens with the 'Lost Souls' alongside DJ Scratch, where she pays respect to the legendary Lauryn Hill with the standout cut, Lost Ones off her The Miseducation album playing in the background.

H.E.R is rapping her way off the blocks touching on positivity, legacy, deception, feminism, women empowerment and even self-consciousness.

''Say you empower women, ay, But don't acknowledge them, Feminism not what you embodyin', You false hope, you false positive'', there is a heavy dose of positivity in her message to kick-start a movement.

'Against Me' is a slow-burning conversation on trust that no longer exists, as she fades into some icy spoken word at the end.

''To my women with the utmost respect, intellect, we often forget and neglect intuition can see through illusive intent, listen to it,'' she speaks.

There is the interlude 'Be On My', a short heartfelt ode of her not exactly knowing what she wants.

On 'Could've Been' featuring Bryson Tiller, which is a favourite, her delivery is soft but sensual, builds strongly with every note, as she narrates a tale of what could have been.

Her singing sees her empty her thoughts clearly and directly, without being overly obsessive, and Bryson Tiller deftly complements the mood of the song.

'Feel A Way' is simple and direct in its message, an intrinsic and personal detailing of her relationship troubles.

The album closer, 'As I Am' is the one time, she allows love win, as she finds herself reminiscing on just laying on the bed all day beside the one she loves, with another Lauryn Hill reference snuck in between.

The EP at first listen draws you in with a strong hint of something special about her music, and the more you listen, the more the songs come alive, and you get caught in the wave of her emotions.

Ultimately, ''I Used To Know Her'' is the epitome of everything she represents, a mixed bag of emotions, advocacy and consciousness.

And given how together her sound is, it is easy to be lost in her major strength, which lies in her silky and controlled vocals, but her lyrics also find its way to the top of her defining attribute, and together it delivers a musical box of a project that is intelligently brewed and effortlessly served.

Rating: 4/5


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