Aloha & Welcome!
I’ve been very busy on my own music grind - performing, working on new projects, and building my consulting business, etc. January was packed with the Creative Hustle Tour shows and artist interviews. Today, we welcome a brand new season of #OTDHipHop blog! A few changes are happening here. From 2015-2016, the blog focused on Track Tuesday spotlight reviews and Friday Feature articles for artists and their projects. This time around, we will focus on dropping content every day of the week. The newest segment, is Mixtape Mondays, where I basically review mixtapes/albums/projects and provide my own opinion on them.
Today, I had the pleasure of doing my very first Mixtape Monday review on Watzreal’s latest album The Human Experience (THE), which dropped in late 2016. Watzreal is a Hip Hop artist and community activist based in the Bay Area, but his resume includes touring and performances all over the U.S., with collaborations from respected producers and other artists. The following is a track by track review of THE, as I vibe out in the bus on my way to work, of course on a little THC.
1. Talk To Em
This is a great intro track and judging by the type of Jazz-influenced beat, which remains pretty consistent throughout the whole project. Shouts out Tone Jones on production. I was waiting for the bus while listening to this song so it was perfect for starting my day with some good hip hop vibes.
2. What’s Real
The beat is so different from what’s on the radio, with the Jazz and funk elements as stated above. The bass is dope, and Watzreal showcases his solid emceeing skills in his wordplay and ability to switch up his flow.
3. Just A Dream
This track features singer Nanci Peral on the hook, coupled with Watzreal’s lyricism on the verses. It’s an inspiring song, with good sonic quality and I’d have to say one of my personal favorites from this project.
Watzreal chose great artists to feature on this entire project and this track is no different. Another personal favorite of mine from this project. I’d say that this song is a classic hip hop lover’s nostalgic track. Watzreal mentions many “90s kid” type elements like old school tv shows, burning CDs, etc. I’ve been taking some low key L’s in life recently, but this is the kind of song that can help escape the stress of “adulting.”
5. Party With No Drama
Listening to this beat, I can tell that Watzreal grew up in the early 2000s because this reminded me of the hype type dance tracks that were popularized by artists like Bow Wow and even B2K. I dig this track because I can see bboys and bgirls doing their thing over this song, but I personally think this could’ve been a hit if it was dropped about a decade ago, you feel me? I’d give this a “gym song” award if I could because of the high energy from Watzreal and the feature artists. I’d love to see this track performed live. Also, Young Gully’s featured flow is FIYAH!
6. Too Good To Be True
I feel like good love songs are lacking on the radio today and I truly miss the R&B of Usher and other 90s and 2000s artists. This song has heavy R&B influence and another great singing feature on the hook. As an independent touring rapper, I’m sure Watzreal has gotten judgement because of the “rapper” persona, which usually doesn’t entail being faithful in relationships. But, as the album title goes, The Human Experience keeps it real and Watzreal opens up about the trials and tribulations of his relationship.
Great track, and Watzreal showcases his poetic skills heavy on here.
On this track, Watzreal talks about life on “the grind” and his battle with depression. I respect this track heavily considering mainstream music’s general shallowness and also a time in hip hop where males aren’t supposed to show feelings. I respect Watzreal for opening up so deeply on this song.
Transitioning from Apathy, this song is about moving. Once again I dig the feature. I’m starting to see Watzreal’s overall message of loving oneself, being kind to others, and persevering through obstacles.
10. Ones I Keep
I’ve found that Watzreal has a cadence type flow, which probably stems from his old school hip hop and R&B influences. I fucks with it.
11. Forever Love
The singers on this project are off the chain! Watzreal really knows how to pick who he collabs with, especially for singing the hooks and what not.
12. My ID Pt. 2: Shadows
I feel like this is a coming-of-age type track, which reminds me of Logic’s “Young Sinatra” projects or even Hopsin’s “Ill Mind” songs. I like that this is a part 2, and eager to go back and listen to part 1.
13. Still Love My Life
This track’s message is similar to “Tired” and “Bounce,” where Watzreal gives a positive impression about his dealing through depression and healing from hurtful things he’s been through, including being casted out as a kid.
14. My Soul
My favorite element on this track is Watzreal’s inspirational outro, basically telling listeners to keep pushin’ through whatever life throws at you. A good song by a great emcee, accompanied by the Jazz elements, consistent throughout this project.
15. So Proud
We’ve come to the end of The Human Experience, where Watzreal rehashes all the different triumphs and obstacles that he’s faced, and I can see how Watzreal has grown to be relatable to many fans in the underground scene around the U.S.
Overall, it’s always a pleasure to help give other artists feedback. I’ve been following Watzreal and his movement for about a year and have seen nothing but positivity and elevation from this dude. I’m honored that he asked me personally to do this review, and my connection to the Bay Area and California as a whole continues to inspire me as a rapper and blogger from Hawaii. Lol. As Rap’s Favorite Lumpia, I’d give this album a 4/5 lumpias on the JehzanExclusive lumpia scale. I look forward to seeing Watzreal’s brand continue to grow.
For more on Watzreal, you may visit his website or listen to The Human Experience (THE) via Bandcamp.
OTDHipHop is an independent music blog and network, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.