Willie Will returns to us June 2009 with his sophomore album, Rhyme and Reason. Those of you who got your hands on the original album Reflection will be very familiar with this cat and may not be expecting much with this album. That was the case with me. As a frosh album, Reflection didn’t really take off and I think there may have been others like me thinking that Will can do so much more than what he offered us on that first album. Praise God, because that was oh so true!
Willie Will has not only lived up to his potential, but he has surpassed that potential in both ‘Rhyme and Reason.’ Everything that seemed lacking in the first album was fixed, and in spades. The beats are great and mesh well with his voice, style and the content. Will’s delivery has improved and remains, now, consistently appealing. Furthermore, Will took a massive leap forward in regard to his phrasing which naturally corresponds to his newfound lyricism – and OH MAN the lyricism! In fact, every possible category, in my opinion, has seen a massive improvement.
What does that mean? What that means is when this album drops June 2nd, 2009? BUY IT!!! It’s really that simple. This is no sleeper album. This is the real deal; it’s ready, it’s now and it’s got a superb sound. There is no ‘rhyme or reason’ not to buy this album unless maybe you are forced to panhandle for money – but that’s a bit extreme I’d think.
Will’s first album, Reflection, was a 2 track album, in my opinion, because of the lack of quality. Rhyme and Reason, in turn, is an abundant 21 track album. So let’s look at some of the highs and not so highs – masquerading as lows – on Rhyme and Reason.
Drinking is one of the tracks that leaves me staggering a bit. I understand what the focus of the song is and why others have tried making similar songs in the past, but it’s not really my thing or something I feel necessary. I’ve always found that trying to take a topic that is totally not holy and then trying to twist it just enough to be holy without using a different term but just redefining the term…to be insulting, uncreative and simply wack. However, I must admit that of all of the stabs at this drinking from living water concept, this is by far the best. I’m not sure I really like the inclusion of so many lines from secular drinking songs being involved, but as a whole, I think that Willie Will was successful in what he was trying to achieve with this track.
Go Hard, yes another title reflecting going hard, harder, or whatever. (Who doesn’t have one of these tracks now?) What I like all of these different ‘hard’ tracks is that none seems to try to copy the other and this is also the case with Willie Will’s Go Hard. I like the rock band sample and again the message is clear and the overall goal is met. But it’s not one of my favorites and I think that the vocals didn’t perfectly align with the beat. That said, for being one of my least favorites, it says a lot of good things about the rest of the album because in actuality I like this track.
The only other song I have any negative feelings about at all is Will’s unsuccessful attempt at the mid-west sound in Can I Get An Ayyy. The beat is hot and the verses aren’t bad, but the hook just didn’t hit. This would have been a good chance for a feature artist with that sound like a T’Dot, Lecrae, Trip Lee, D-Maub or a short list of others who have the right delivery and also have the lyrical ability to match a lyricist like Will. Doing that would make this track the jump off, but instead, it falls into my very slim least favorite list, which still isn’t a bad place to be with this album. However, another mid-west sound and Jaywan produced track, What I Stand For, is much better all the way around.
As for some stand outs, Turn It Around is just phenomenal. Actually, it seemed that every track that Jazz Digga was on was phenomenal. But that’s not hard on this album because most tracks are just that, phenomenal. And while we’re talking about features, check out the list of features that you’re going to catch on this album: Jazz Digga, K-Drama, J Johnson, Braille, R-Swift, muzeONE, Chayla, Theory Hazit, ElOh and Young Joshua. Can we say “Lyricist Lounge” here folks!?
But if Turn It Around is phenomenal, what word can possibly describe tracks like I Can’t Tell, Spit Dat, Warrior Part II, What You See and This Is My Struggle among others? Take the opportunity of the comments section to make note if you so please, because my Thesaurus is sick of being abused by me already.
Willie Will also took a page from Shai Linne’s story telling time to his kid with This I Know and has a very cute, fun, light story of the life and purpose of Christ with the following famous lines. “Jesus loves me this I know; for the Bible tells me so. Little one’s to him belong. They are weak but He is strong.” This seems to be a new standard in Christian rap albums, especially those whose artist(s) has a family… there is at least one song dedicated to or directed at the youngest and most impressionable of youth and the family construct.
But before anyone thinks that I’m just playing cheerleader, you should go back and read some of my previous reviews because that might give you a very different impression of me. Truth is, I had very low expectations and high hopes for this album when it came time for me to review it. I actually had to double check to make sure I was listening to the right files because I couldn’t believe that this was actually Willie Will. So I’m certainly not one to be going “back and forth like the hammer dance” (excerpt from Let It Go). But I will be going back to ride out to this album time and time again. So whatever the ‘Rhyme and Reason’ was for the success of the album, the result was just that… success.
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Review by: DJ Guardian
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