Wara From The NBHD – “The Ill Street Blues” (album)

Not to be confused with the prequel of the same name, Brooklyn-named Atlanta-claimed, Wara From the NBHD (from the Neighborhood) dropped his FreEP The Ill Street Blues today.

When I first heard of buddy, it was always from somebody who was in his professional circle. It’s always hard to tell what’s really up when that happens. Not every manager, publicist, promoter, handler, etc is even a fan of the music they are pushing. So when they come at you with that “this the hottest shit in the street” talk, you always have to ask “well…what street exactly?” It’s okay to just say “hey, I think this is dope, check it out man.” Everything doesn’t have to be “this the next nigga! Get on this bandwagon right now!” Plus, so many people out here pushing music aren’t really fans of it, they’re just trying to make a name for themselves as a music salesman that can “make it happen,” but that’s a talk for another time…

But yeah, I’m guessing this is intended to be a more robust, flushed out and properly mixed version of the one he dropped last year. At times the predecessor dragged and had some boring moments. But on the new one, Wara sounds a lot more comfortable and confident in what he’s trying to say. And sonically, it just sounds clearer. When I was introduced to his music, I dug how he said he wanted to come from the perspective of Ronnie’s (Jada Pinkett) son in Menace II Society. The way the movie ends, we never really know what happens to him after they drag him from up under Caine’s bloody body. Did he move to Atlanta and live a regular life, or did he end up in the streets too? Since dude is claiming Brockett Road, I’m guessing its been a half and half experience for him.

When I was growing up, Brockett Rd. was the area where folks that was moving from the ‘hood, or other ‘hoods in other cities, were just moving to when they messed around and got tired of staying in them apartments, got a nice lil’ job, came into some money somehow or shacked up with somebody with decent credit. That was 13-15 years ago, no telling what its like around there now. When I’d come back home from school I would laugh when my brother would tell me “man, niggas in the club claiming Brockett Road now, thinking they hard”…especially because we grew up in Decatur. But like I said, things change and I’m sure they have.

The production on here is going to pull a lot of older ears off GP because it is very sample heavy and has that “90’s feel” that so many are loving Joey Bada$$ for right now. Depending on your tastes, that may also be the same thing that chases you away. But if you’re open minded, you may appreciate what he’s trying to do. Dude never really sounds like he trying to sound older than what he is. If anything, he sounds like a cat that doesn’t want to rap over trap beats or whatever else a young rapper in Atlanta is “supposed” to be rapping on. Or better yet, a cat that knows of and respects what came before him instead of letting too much youthful arrogance seep through.

Especially on a song like “Coma” where starts the song on a airy A$APy type beat, but ends the track rapping over the old Ice Cube “Really Doe” beat. Or a track like “The Ill Remains” where he flows over Gil Scott-Heron’s “Winter In America.” Dude also has live sax and trumpets sprinkled throughout the album. Major points for that.

As far as the aesthetic of the project goes, it’s easy to see that his favorite rapper is probably Nas or Biggie. He has the slightly cliche baby on the cover and here it has a gun. Not sure if he’s saying that he’s Ready to Die, or Ready to Kill. Then the project is named “The Ill Street Blues.” Which is obviously borrowed from Nas and Biggie’s godfather, Kool G. Rap, but it’s probably more than likely a loose ode to Illmatic. Plus he has a song named “Thief’s Theme” on here.

Don’t let the references I’ve made in this post translate to me comparing it to any of the debut projects that were named, because I’m not. But, this project does have me interested in hearing what Wara has to say after he gets a few more years under his belt and gets to meet some other artists and producers than can bring even more out of him. Sounds like he’s off to a good start though.

My personal favorites right now are “M​.​II​.​S (Emergency​,​Emergency)” and “Ceelo Champs.”

You can download the project from his Bandcamp page.

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