Willie The Kid X Dus – City Lights – EP Review
Sometimes artists just belong together, know what I mean?
Y’all know what it’s like to stumble across a collaboration in full-effect…it’s always something you can hear. When I was checking out this new City Lights EP from rapper Willie The Kid & producer Dus for the very first time…and “Jewelry” comes on…I mean…c’mon people, it was like the game was already over before it even started and you could hand these two a clear W for their efforts; it was immediately pro.
But not JUST pro sound…we’re livin’ in a day & age where artists can cop a solid recording in a whole lot of places…I’m talkin’ PRO…as in material, just as much as the sound itself – and that’s what’s putting this collaborative effort a level above the rest. Again, taking “Jewelry” as a quick bench-mark for an example – it is the first cut & first impression you’ll get on City Lights after all – but LISTEN up – because not only is the sound extremely slick & slides right into your ears from the lefts to the rights, but what’s being spit, said, and rapped along the distance of these cuts will keep you every bit as interested as the music does. So you see what I’m saying now? Willie The Kid & Dus have found an incredible balance of power.
The facts from what I’ve read & researched so far are that “Jewelry” was previously released as a lead-single from the record in advance to get the people woke & catch their attention – and this should do it. “Jewelry” has that instantly gripping atmosphere in the vibe & music that immediately grabs the ears and pulls’em in close to listen to the solid mix of poetic, rhythmic, and RAW rhymes coming at ya along with it. Willie The Kid has the confidence, style, and swagger you want in an emcee…dude truly spits incredibly versatile bars that flex all kinds of verbal finesse, while still getting across exactly what he wants to say, exactly as he wants to say it. Brilliant use of the dynamics in the music – Willie The Kid pivots, shifts, and transitions like the best of the best – and thanks to the way that Dus created these beats, he gets the opportunity to own the spotlight and rise to the occasion, which he does, no doubt. Setting the standard immediately with “Jewelry” – it’s impossible not to notice how next-level they are.
“Well, well, well – what do we have here?” Yet another killer cut early on, what else homie? Props to Dus for creating unique & jazzy beats that continually hit the mark…you’ll find that’s an awesome constant that runs through this whole record. Take the trumpet-led cut “Cigar Smoke” and how its chill-meets-exotic charisma just kinda hangs in the air…exactly like…well…”Cigar Smoke” y’all. Thematically, this is on-point from concept to execution, dig that. Listening to Willie The Kid jump from thought to thought is impressive on this second cut – dude just seems to have a serious gift for the art of being an emcee…he completely understands that it’s all about what we hear in several ways; not just the words, but how they’re spit, what energy they have, where the emphasis is placed on the words to get the meaning across, how to deliver a hook with style…he’s covering all angles for sure. Listen to the verse around the first minute before it slides on into the hooks…Willie’s all-rhyme-all-day here…and it’s EFFECTIVE – like I was saying, he gets across what he wants to say how he wants to say it, even in a flow like that where obviously the rhyme-aspect remains key. While “Cigar Smoke” might not necessarily raise the stakes or standards set by “Jewelry” beforehand – it does live up to them; perhaps more importantly, it instantly confirms & reveals the exceptional consistency in the material on this record.
Heading into a wild tale of life & love, “Dreaming” has Willie The Kid out on the prowl. Featuring the vibrant vocals of Blue Raspberry in the mix to bring this concept even more vividly to our ears as we listen was a solid move for sure. Rapping about the days of the past where he’s found himself right in the thick of late nights & the search for the one…when it comes to the personal-side of love & Willie The Kid and what he’s looking for & all about – you’ll probably find you get more insight into him on this cut than any of the rest in that respect. Apparently “Dreaming” was released as a single prior to the official release of the City Lights EP as well…ultimately, as I’ll go into later on, I have no objections…it may be a bit on the chill side for what you’d have expected them to release in comparison to some of the others later on – either way, it’s an interesting choice to put out there that still has plenty of appeal to it. There’s also an advantage to flipping the script of course, which the serene chill of “Dreaming” featuring Blue Raspberry certainly supplies. Flowing flawlessly inside of this atmospheric & hypnotic cut, Willie The Kid keeps the words fluid, lined with key details & imagery that make the difference…the kind of tale in music that is told like a story unfolding…& with the spectacular backup & support that Blue Raspberry & Dus provide, everything suits this song spot-on & reveals its magic moment after moment.
“Lord Have Mercy” might be another cut I’d be looking at as a single from this record to pull the people in…mind you, I’ve been jamming this record at full-volume for about a week & never found a crack in it – they could verifiably choose ANY of these tracks to release as a representation of the City Lights EP & they’d be doin’ themselves proud, no matter what they selected. So…might just be me, but probably not – “Lord Have Mercy” has a ton of immediate appeal; Dus has put the juice into this vibe to keep it live & fresh for ya, and as always, Willie The Kid never lets up on the charisma, character, and personality he laces into the m-i-c. Shout-out to Brothers Grimm in this cut for ya as well, a relationship formed of which, from my understanding, is another key part of this whole City Lights effort. Always good to have people in your corner ready to support ya and it sounds like Brothers Grimm Publishing are ready to assist in pushing Willie The Kid & Dus right out there into the world where they belong – so salute to that, this is music that SHOULD be heard y’all. What a beat Dus! Yo! So much character flowing through your speakers through the sound of “Lord Have Mercy” from the music to the microphone…definitely the kind of vibe you just wanna top-down cruise along the highway to, feel me?
As far as opening verses go, it’s pretty hard to beat what Willie The Kid comes up with on “Spotlight” as he starts into his flow, keeping it fluid & rolling right on the mark, ever the professional, as he spits his truth over the classic Hip-Hop vibe that Dus has created. For reals though, Willie is makin MOVES on this track and straight-up magic on the mic, rarely taking any time off at all once he begins, keeping that verbal entertainment comin’ at ya at all times & ALWAYS adding in words that are worth your time to listen. Accessibility-wise, I’d probably argue there’s a bit more here on “Spotlight” for the masses than most of the rest of the set by comparison…the music Dus has produced has got a completely uplifting sound that ears will dig, and hooks-wise, I think there’s more for the people to sing along with in what Willie The Kid lays down in the chorus of this cut. Might just be that “Spotlight” gets about a minute more than a lot of these songs to make its mark, and that second roll through the hooks certainly solidifies them in our mind…in that respect, this could be a key point for this collaboration to examine going forward. Ain’t no doubt they can make some mayhem in just two & a half-minutes – but the on the cuts that take it a bit longer in length, they also seem to be able to make even more of an impact.
And like – did Willie The Kid just somehow work in ‘finagling’ into a rhyme? Damn this guy is good.
“Life Is A Game Of Chess” – #truth. The message here, is in the hooks for sure; don’t get me wrong, everything Willie The Kid is spittin’ on the bars of these verses stacks up and supports the main idea – but that chorus hook is like the overall meaning in BOLD to make sure everyone hears it. Willie The Kid & Dus have kept it pretty serious for the majority of this record…couple lines here & there that’ll raise an eyebrow or make you chuckle a bit, but for the most part, really straight-ahead – they’re on a mission. As you might find implied by the title, “Life Is A Game Of Chess” probably dives a bit further into the full-on serious-side of their sound…even when Willie is rappin’ about red-cups and dildos, he still sounds like he’s feelin’ every word and spitting them all with purpose – it makes a huge difference. In fact, you’ll find largely that, it’s a lot of what separates him from the rest of so many emcees out there. Listening closely to “Life Is A Game Of Chess” will also reveal how he’s able to write from a personal perspective that, no doubt, some of you will be able to relate to…especially when it comes to this particular cut. Willie The Kid will take ya through the struggle & the grind of his own experiences, but if you zoom out and look at it from a whole, like, socially-conscious angle – well, you’ll find there’s a ton there for you to dig on as well. A lot of what applies to him personally on “Life Is A Game Of Chess” represents the struggle a lot of people can likely relate to – and if you listen to everything happening here both inside of and between the lines…you might just find Willie The Kid dropping the blueprint for you to find your way out. So pay attention homies – like I’ve been sayin’ all along, the man’s got a lot to say & he says it all extremely well – and whether he’s flexin’ poetically or out to drop knowledge bombs on ya, he gets the message & vibe across 100% & always finds the perfect way to complement what Dus has created on wax.
By the time Willie The Kid & Dus are rounding the bases to the home-plate on their final cut “Nectarine” – it crossed my mind that, really, what ELSE can be said? If you have a true love for what REAL Hip-Hop is all about, then there’s absolutely no excuse as to why you wouldn’t be bumpin’ this EP loud & proud everywhere you go this year. They’ve truly left no stone unturned when it comes to attention to detail in the music or in the words…and together as a combined force, they’re clearly at the top of their game. I mean, SOMEHOW, they’re ending this record with what JUST MIGHT BE the most single-worthy sound & song you’ll find on the EP – like c’mon, how many times have I already said or pointed out something similar? “Nectarine” is a freakin’ master-stroke…Willie The Kid is busting up rhymes rhythmically with precision & focus, Dus has once again outdone himself in creating the amazing vibe that runs throughout this final track…they’ve completely put themselves in solid position here at the end to get the people out there instantly repeating this entire experience, as well they should – I know I did, many, many times. When it comes to “Nectarine” – I could have taken another ten-minutes of this song, no problem, no hesitation at all – it’s got the kind of vibe that you just wanna sink into the couch & listen to, over & over & over. So no lie people…I just helped myself; it’s only about two & a half-minutes long – but after how many times I’ve personally heard it at this point, I’ve got what I need…for now. Believe me – it’s cuts like “Nectarine” that’ll have you coming back…not just to the song, but to the whole EP.
The City Lights EP from Willie The Kid & Dus is out and available now – find it at iTunes direct right here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/city-lights/1458884249