Photography by Kyle Brown

Ricky Tyler’s Deja Vu is a Painful yet Cathartic Look at Loss

The first time I heard Ricky Tyler was when I played him on my radio show on DYR 105.1. I was looking for a song to play after Beyonce and Jay-Z’s Deja Vu and I spotted Ricky’s track of the same name. I thought it would be pretty funny to cue up two songs named Deja Vu, potentially giving listeners a sense of Deja Vu. Funny it was not, as the young R&B crooner from Jozi delivered an absolutely heartbreaking song about lost friends.

Not lost because you had a silly fight and don’t talk anymore, but because they have shuffled off this mortal coil. A bit morose for drive time radio, but I was touched by the emotional depth on display from an artist I wasn’t yet familiar with. Since then, I’ve scoured his catalogue and Deja Vu is still my fav. On Breathing and A.M he flexes his rap abilities, and Ecstasy is straight up funk music in the same vein as The Weeknd, but it’s on Deja Vu where I believe him the most- where I feel his pain as though it’s my own.

The original video for Deja Vu dropped back in March, and it’s an absolutely devastating one-shot video that you’re just going to have to watch for yourself to truly feel it. In August, Ricky and his team put out a video for the acoustic version of the song which managed to get me sobbing even harder than the original, although the video thankfully isn’t as hectic.  

Songs like these can be difficult to listen to as they bring back painful memories in your own life, but at the same time, it can be cathartic to reminisce about our fallen brothers and sisters and think back on all the good times. I don’t know how you’ll feel listening to Deja Vu, but you’re definitely gonna feel something, and that’s the most you can really ask from a piece of art.

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