Album Review | Willie Waze - F.R.E.E. WILLIE

This album was released on April 3rd this year. I first became familiar with Willie Waze when he was featured on an extended play from K-Beta last year. I then heard the lead single from this project, and ended up featuring it in one of my “Best Singles of the Week” posts earlier this year. That’s pretty much all the history I have with his music, so I don’t have much to say in this preamble. I’m expecting this to be a dope album though because everything I’ve heard from him up to this point has been very impressive. Hopefully I’m not let down…

1. Free Ones (Intro) produced by Esse

This is a pretty nice intro. It’s just one verse, but it’s very good. His flow is really dope, and the verse is very well written.
Had the category chose, allegory prose
I know how the story goes; I had to cancel Maury shows
I done fathered so many, could only harbor so many
Albums – I might’ve sold many; I make Harvard so mini
There are a lot of dope lines here. The production from Esse is pretty dope too. Overall, it’s a very straightforward track since it’s just an intro with one verse, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I think it’s a dope song.

2. WazeDidDat produced by SpunkUDidDat

This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. I think the production here is really stellar. It kinda sounds like something that Kanye West would’ve made for The Blueprint in my opinion. I love how aggressive Willie’s lyricism is here too.
Out the way is where I usually be
Hangin’ with some wild niggas that’s ruder than me
And we all paid the cost, not your usual fee
So we all tryna stay afloat like a cruise through the sea
I swear that all these niggas’ raps is doo doo; they try to floss
But everything that come out they mouth is washed like plaque removal
And stop actin’ like I actually knew you
Or I’ma pull up with that beam to your ear like I hacked your bluetooth
I think the one thing that could’ve made this track even better would be if it had a really good hook. The beat kinda puts me in the same mood as Jay-Z’s Heart of the City, but it doesn’t have an anthemic hook to match that one. The second verse on this track is even better than the first in my opinion though; he killed that shit.
Incisions under fluorescent light
Workin’ graveyard shifts, give a fuck about a pleasant night
At your show in the front shinin’ like patent leather Nikes
Ready to dent your frame if you ever bite
He better brace his self, it’s an oasis
Thought I was a joke, I broke his homeostasis
He fuckin’ killed this shit. I always appreciate some good dentistry bars. The dentures, bite, and braces lines were awesome. I think the song is dope as hell, and it’s a big highlight on the album for me.

3. Hybrid Kid produced by King Bailey

This was the first solo track I’d ever heard from Willie Waze, so I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I first heard him rap when he was featured on that K-Beta EP from last year. I decided to keep an eye on him since he impressed me on that project, and I’m glad I did because this shit is dope. I think Willie Waze is actually living in Australia right now, but he seems to be from Virginia. It’s interesting because this song sounds like some old school California shit. It’s not only because of the production, but even Willie’s actual rapping sounds very West Coast. I feel like Too $hort & E-40 would sound right at home on this song. It’s a good thing though. This isn’t the generic kinda shit that you get from YG or Blueface. It’s actually an entertaining song. Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of him, I feel like Nipsey Hussle would fit on this track really well too. As a matter of fact, literally every rapper I just named would sound right at home on this track. Willie raps better than almost all of them in my opinion. I’ll let y’all decide who exactly I’m talking about when I say he’s superior.
I keep my shit in order, proper
With the script close
So spend your dollars, quarters & cryptos
My shit goes
He kinda goes in about his amalgam of influences during the second verse, which explains the West Coast sound along with the title of the track. Definitely check this song out, especially if you’re into that classic West Coast style. This shit is dope.

4. Out da Whip produced by SeanKeatonTheHNIC

This is the only track on the album that I don’t really care for. I think the actual rapping here from Willie is just as good as it is everywhere else on the album. The problem is that I just don’t care for the hook at all. The melody just sounds really odd and out of place over this instrumental, which I’m also not really crazy about. Well, I don’t know… I’m kinda torn on the production. It makes me think of Christmas for some reason. It sounded a little off to me at first, but it did grow on me after a few listens. That hook really just sounded super off though. Again, I do like the actual rapping here. I think the verses are dope.
Y’all must’ve forgot, I’m here to remind you
The way y’all promptly produce props is impromptu
Ya block hot? Well mine’s too
So I had to forecast a new hustle, start floodin’ like monsoons
Believe me, y’all not goons, plus ain’t half as nice
And my Jamaican niggas’ll be splittin’ ya mon soon
That me leaves with about a 8th, have to reroute your faith
Had the hoes watchin’ like diamonds jumpin’ out the face
See, the writing here is great. He clearly puts a lot of time and effort into his lyricism. I don’t think this track is bad at all; the hook just makes me less likely to return to it. It’s definitely an okay song though.

5. First Class // With Luv produced by Esse & DuhbloSkytzo

The beat on First Class is really light and kinda laidback. I really like it, and I think Willie’s smoother delivery over it sounds great. He was rhyming his ass off here too, as always.
Won’t stop ’til I see new plots with the Fuji views
With a cool lot full of Coupes, drops, and hooptie fumes
Fools get fumigated if they ain’t knew me, true
I can look back on my past and say I truly grew
I don’t know what it is about this hook, but I actually like it. I feel like the singing isn’t particularly good, but it somehow just works. It’s not really bad singing either. Sometimes when rappers sing it just sounds cool even if they can’t really do it very well. Freddie Gibbs & ScHoolboy Q are able to do it sometimes, and it doesn’t always work. This is one of those situations where a rapper who can’t sing does it and I actually enjoy it. Both of the verses on First Class are pretty awesome to me. I like when he kinda gives it a Southern edge during the outro with that “throw some ‘bows” line. The transition into With Luv is really nice as well, and he killed that shit too.
Peace to the queens that hold they man down
From when he wearin’ the crown to when it’s man down
Just know you appreciated
One day the cause of our scars will be alleviated
Fulfilling your true worth, that’s when they really hate it
Want you to believe you new to this place, but you really ancient
Overall, this is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album, and I don’t really have any major gripes with it. I think it’s dope as hell.

6. Alpha Groove featuring Michelle Paige produced by Juzz Uno

This song definitely has one of my favorite beats on the album up to this point. The percussion here is really nice, and it mixes with the bass and piano keys very well. I feel like this definitely deserves a music video; it feels more accessible than many of the other tracks, mainly because of the content. It’s basically a love song, but it’s really well done. The first verse is dope, and the hook is actually pretty funny too.
She might be a feminist
But she still gon’ get this dick
Well, I don’t know if labelling it a “love song” is fair. It’s less about expressing affection towards a significant other and more about saying “it’d be in your best interest to date me.” Okay, the way I wrote that sounded kinda creepy and weird, but it’s one of those tracks where the artist is talking about how he’d make a good romantic partner.
She under my spell, but she ain’t outta bounds
She finna get a nice little hotel outta town
Oceanfront on the balcony, smokin’ blunts
I’m with it all, baby, if that’s what you really want
If not, that’s cool; I gots to move
To the next situation; what I got to prove?
Not a damn thing, I’m lampin’ in the Lincoln
Oh, you said you with it? Shit, that’s what I was thinkin’
The vocals from Michelle Paige on the hook are pretty solid. As I said before, this track has some of the best production on the project, and the verses are very well written. The song’s dope.

7. Hunnid Blk Shawty // Lowkey featuring Sunez produced by Esse & Jewels Polaar

The production on Hunnid Blk Shawty is pretty solid, but the main appeal of that song is definitely Willie’s actual rapping for me. I like the way he was talkin’ shit on that opening verse.
I earn respect in my hood from bein’ me
So G that I receive tree and don’t see a fee
And not many can say that shit
Yeah we both fucked, dog, but you paid that bitch
I don’t think the hook is that great, but it’s not really terrible to me either. I think it could’ve been better, but it doesn’t ruin the song for me. The second verse is pretty dope, although it’s not one of my favorites on the album. The beat on Lowkey immediately sounded familiar to me, and it’s because it’s the same sample that Metal Fingers flipped for Caskets off of NehruvianDOOM. I think it sounds really fucking awesome here though, and Willie Waze slaughtered it.
Subliminal forces contort your solar plexus
Can play stupid, but you know who next is
Learn to control the flexes, a chest hits
Repeatedly, ’til that shit cave
How many lives my shit save?
He really went ham on this verse. There are a shit ton of rhymes stuffed into it, and some crazy imagery too. I loved that line about other rappers getting lifted from above by pterodactyl claws. He snapped here. I enjoyed Hunnid Blk Shawty, but Lowkey is really what sold me on the track as a whole. That’s definitely my favorite part. Overall, it’s a really dope song.

8. For da Opps produced by Esse

As you can tell from the title of this track, this is one of the more lyrically hostile songs on the album. The very first thing that stood out to me was this line…
My nigga, do we have an issue?
If so, make it plain; cool like Dana Dane
Your child won’t have a destiny, you beyond say my name
I wish y’all could’ve seen my reaction the first time I heard that. I was like “WAIT, HOL’ UP.” I had to rewind it to make sure I heard it right. That shit is fire though. I really love this beat from Esse, and I think this track has one of the album’s better hooks. The second verse is pretty good too; I liked that Snowden line a lot. Overall I think it’s a very good song. This one is dope.

9. F.R.E.E. Willie produced by King Bailey

This song has another one of the best beats on the album in my opinion; I really love it. I really like how kind of emotional and tense this song sounds
Shit’s so fucked up, I don’t know who my partners is
I’m a product of the dirt, just like the garden is
I jumped in head first without a starter kit
And learned that really the hurt is just all a part of it
And that’s why I honor it, even when the shit is grimy
Sometimes the pain is addictive, but can’t let it define me
That’s why some niggas be ferocious
But even in the field you gotta stop and smell the roses
There’s not really a hook on this track; he kinda just takes a break to speak between the verses, which is cool. This isn’t really the kinda song that requires a hook in my opinion. I think this is the track where he perhaps sounds the most hungry. That’s not to say that this is necessarily his best rapping on the whole project, but this is where he sounds more dedicated to reaching success. I think this shit is fire, and it’s easily a major highlight for me. It’s dope as hell.

10. Windows & Mirrors produced by Esse

I feel like I’ve been saying that every track has “one of the best beats on the album,” so I’ll just say that I also really like this one. Once again, the production has kind of an emotional edge to it, and Willie rapped his ass off. I loved this line…
Celebrating everyday, life of a regal winner
When the beef come you cook that shit until it’s legal tender
I’m not really crazy about the hook on this song, but it isn’t particularly bad. It’s just not really that great to me personally. Maybe if the singing was better I’d enjoy it more, but I don’t really think the melody is that great in the first place. The actual rapping on this song along with the good production still makes this a very enjoyable song for me. I think it’s dope.

11. Survivor’s Lament featuring Macguyver & Michelle Paige produced by SpunkUDidDat

I really love the beat on this track. It sounds very upbeat and smooth. The celebratory aesthetic sounds great. It almost sounds like something I’d hear at a wedding. The opening verse from Willie is great, and I think this track has one of the best hooks on the album; Michelle Paige’s vocals sound very good. Willie killed that second verse. The first one was cool, but he really stepped it up for the second one. He was rhyming his ass off.
Double agent, trouble raging through the muffled hatred
Shuffle cases, huddle cages, muddled on a subtle basis
But not them, when they blazin’ they get paid vacations
Delayed durations, stimulation; it’s degradation
Judicial and the legislation got us pacing
Find your station, guard your post, nigga, and stop hating
I don’t think I’d heard of this Macguyver guy before listening to this song, but his verse was really dope as well. This is another definite highlight on the album for me; there’s not a single aspect of it that I don’t like. I think it’s dope as hell.

12. Benevolent Prospects produced by SpunkUDidDat

This track has my number one favorite beat on the album. It’s technically the last official song on the album, but it’s followed by two bonus tracks. As always, Willie’s rapping here is top notch, especially on the second verse.
Rememberin’ the resonant revenant returnin’ reverence
Congregate like the reverend’s men, seven friends
No impediments could ever fit in our developments
Petulance ain’t allowed, we grown men, we ain’t elegant
His rhymes were on steroids for this verse. That was definitely a satisfactory finale to the album. This is an obvious highlight. The hook isn’t amazing or anything, but it serves its purpose. This shit is dope as hell.

13. Landed in Australia produced by Esse

This shit is fire. It has one of the weirdest beats on the album, but it’s also hard as fuck. This shit “slaps,” as the other kids my age would say. It sounds like the soundtrack to a horror movie, but in the form of a Trap beat. Well, it sounds more like that Bay Area production style due to the percussion. The first verse is pretty dope, and the hook is surprisingly good, although I really wasn’t expecting it to go in that direction. The second verse is even better than the first in my opinion. I think this song works really well as a bonus track. I don’t know how to explain that… It makes sense as a bonus track, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s weaker than the main album cuts. It just sounds less important from a lyrical point of view I guess. I still think it’s great though. It’s dope as hell to me.

14. Infinite Waze featuring Born I produced by 1st Spawned

I don’t think I’d ever heard of Born I before listening to this song, but he fucking killed that opening verse. I really love this beat too. It has more of an East Coast Boom Bap flavor to it than the majority of the other songs. I feel like Born I and Willie have a really great chemistry here too. Willie actually probably had my favorite verse here even though I loved Born I. They’re pretty much neck & neck to be honest.
In moderation abolish modern abominations
A conversation can conquer a confrontation
Honestly, I think this shit is fucking amazing. There’s not a single aspect of this track that I don’t love. It’s dope af.

This album is really great. I think its greatest selling point is the actual lyricism because Willie can rhyme his ass off. There’s not a single wack verse on this project. I was really impressed with his writing the whole time, so he clearly takes his time and puts a lot of effort into his work. The production was very consistent as well; I didn’t dislike a single beat here. There was one beat that was a little odd to me at first, but even that one grew on me after a few listens. If I had to choose one weakness, I would say that the hooks generally weren’t really that good to me, but they were rarely bad enough to ruin a song. I’d just say that in general they didn’t add much to the experience for me. I found myself wanting to hurry up and get to the rest of the actual verses so I could hear more rhymes. There’s not a single song here that I would say is bad, or even mediocre. I enjoyed everything here to some extent. Do not sleep on this record. It’s dope.

SCORE: 85 (B+)