Who is Ren? The Welsh singer-songwriter has just released his new album Sick Boi

The Wales-born singer-songwriter has built up a dedicated online following, and has just released his second album, Sick Boi.
Who Is Ren?

Slowly building on years of hype and hard work, Welsh singer-songwriter Ren has just released his second album, Sick Boi, and will be hoping to finally cross over into the mainstream music conversation. 

Here's everything you need to know about Ren and his brand-new album, Sick Boi.

Who is Ren?

Ren (real name Ren Gill) is a Welsh singer-songwriter born in Bangor but raised on the island of Anglesey (off the coast of Wales), before moving to Brighton, now located in Calgary in Canada as he undergoes medical treatments. 

Ren first started his career as a member of the indie group Trick The Fox and the busking band The Big Push, before breaking out into his own solo career.

He self-released a debut album, Freckled Angels, in 2016, before slowly building hype by issuing several EPs; The Tale of Jenny & Screech (2019), Demos (Do Not Share) Volumes 1 & 2 (2020) and Violet's Tale (2022).

Ren's second album, Sick Boi, acts as the culmination of slow and steady build into an artist who has managed to cultivate an extremely dedicated online following ready to cross into the mainstream on his own terms. 


How has Ren built such a dedicated online following?

Much of Ren's music is built around his thoughts on and his struggles with a long-term chronic illness (first originally misdiagnosed as MS, he's now being treated for both Lyme Disease and brain damage).

Ren's artistry is built around his story-telling, using rap as a narrative tool (in much the same way early career Eminem did or Kendrick Lamar still does) as a way of communicating his pain and trauma. 

One of Ren's biggest breakthroughs came earlier this year, when he uploaded the music video for the track Hi Ren to YouTube (the video currently has over 20 million views, while the song's worldwide streams on Spotify stand at nearly 10 million). Filmed in a basement (which, unironically, reminds you of the set of a Saw film) it sees Ren dressed in little else than a hospital gown, strumming on a guitar. 

"Hi Ren, I’ve been taking some time to be distant, I’ve been taking some time to be still,' he goes. 'I’ve been taking some time to be by myself and I've spent half of my life ill."

Ren has also been honest about the limitations that his health issues have placed on the progress of his own career. In an interview with NME, he spoke about having to turn down slots at Glastonbury and several other festivals this summer due to ill health, and has thrown doubt on the prospect of touring as a result. 

What's Ren's new album Sick Boi about?

Sick Boi is the culmination of Ren's solo career to date. A bold, abrasive and haunting body of work, across its 18 tracks, Sick Boi is primarily a pure hip-hop album, exploring the deeper and darker depths of Ren's trauma and psyche. 

In an interview with Rolling Stone UK, Ren spoke about the genesis behind the recording of Sick Boi, stating; "Sick Boi was me challenging myself to create a hiphop only album, the album title based on my struggles with health over the past decade. I wanted to create an album that pushed my beat making and flow ability."

The album's tracklist is diverse in both Ren's musical ambitions (with the single Uninvited leaning towards pop extravagance and Down On The Beat heading into EDM territory) and referencing works such as George Orwell's Animal Farm (Animal Flow), mafia epics such as Scarface and Goodfellas (Money Game Pt. 3) and the mythology behind the doctrine of the seven deadly sins (Seven Sins). 

Sick Boi is out now via The Other Songs.

Image: Joseph Flack

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Hey you, if you're reading this and you don't think Ren's music is for you or you haven't heard it before - just go listen to "Seven Sins" on Sick Boi or watch the video for "Money Game 3" on Youtube or go listen to his last album or any prior music. He is a mix of genres and his talent and passion for music is in every note (he composed and produced nearly all of them himself). We'd love to have you as a fellow Renegade <3 

Let's get a UK independent artist to the top!