Bar Exam: W.A.I.D. – Stay: A Love Story (EP)
A One Listen Album Review
There’s something about looking at dope cover art for the first time. Lately it’s a little different than walking through the CD section of Best Buy or spending hours in FYE so I find myself clicking through Spotify, Apple Music or Soundcloud for new stuff. If you’re like me, you’re more apt to press play on someone you’ve never heard of if their cover art is fresh. This is how I felt when I saw the artwork for W.A.I.D.’s EP, “Stay: A Love Story” that dropped on February 14th. It’s clean and simple. The name is tucked behind flowers, the art with a weathered look to make it feel like the worn CD art from olden times. This project seems to be centered around love, and it’s loaded with features. There’s already many promising and intriguing things at first blush. Let’s find out if W.A.I.D. can deliver at the level the packaging has already delivered for him.
We’re immediately greeted by a reverb heavy spoken word poem with some string and synth beds in the music. The lead vocals are pretty tucked back in the mix, making it hard to decipher the lyrics a bit. We move from the spoken word full of a few dropped names and corny jokes into some raps. There’s a lot of disjointed rhymes here.
“I hope you understand/my heart beats for yours/and hopefully yours for mine too/got that first corinthians thirteen type of love.. Yeah we do/wouldn’t give this away for the whole world/I could never give up on us/everybody’s gonna see what’s up/cuz we’re what’s up/and we’ll never give up/and i’m here to say…”
As you can tell there’s not really a flow to these lyrics and then the handoff from this verse to the hook is awkward. The performance on this hook is on point. Then we hear a reading of 1 Cor. 13 and we’re back into more of the song. This seems like an intro piece but it’s pretty drawn out.
The second track is called “Loyalty” and yep, you guessed it, he starts off the song quoting Kendrick. That’s where he lost me. It’s totally fine to quote other rappers from time to time but you’ve got to bring it when you do. You can’t treat those borrowed lyrics like throwaways to get you to what you want to say, especially when it’s the first line out of your mouth. The beat here has some nice layers to it and it doesn’t sound bad. W.A.I.D.’s vocals still aren’t mixed well. They’re boomy and they muddy up the entire mix when he’s on. Josiah Davis drops a flow too and I really dig this. It’s got a throwback vibe to it but it’s well done.
These next three tracks continue with the same issues talked about above. W.A.I.D.’s vocals are an issue for me and a distraction when trying to enjoy the music. I feel like someone knew this would be the case, and decided to throw static throughout the project as an effect, hoping the static would make the lo-fi capture of the vocals seem intentional. Davis Absolute drops some bars on track 4 but besides that this section is well below the bar.
This last track to close out the project is the most solid of the bunch. Ream Raw bodies an intricate flow to get us up to the bar and we coast from there to the end. W.A.I.D.’s vocals are mixed far better here than was heard anywhere else, and Jordan Nitchoff pulls off a solid R&B jam vibe for us as well.
What began as such a promising project just from first assessment ended up being a disappointment. As the saying goes “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover,” and I think that obviously works for albums too. If W.A.I.D. can get his vocals produced a little better and spend a little more time crafting his flow, we will all be waiting in anticipation of his future releases.
Overall Rating: Below The Bar