AT A time when positivity feels like an endangered species on the brink of extinction, London artist Watusi87 returns with his latest album and a much needed helping of good vibes.
‘Flava’ arrives a year after Watusi’s debut, ‘Moments Of Truth’, was given life, introducing many listeners to an artist who thrives on honesty and openness; qualities it could be argued are lacking from a lot of today’s hip hop.
With Flava, Watsui87 wanted to make an album that would allow engagement with younger generations, in the hopes of providing a positive soundtrack while they navigate life and its many challenges.
He has succeeded too, thanks to the creation of an album which delivers strong messages while maintaining a light-hearted attitude, which prevents it falling foul under the weight of its own importance.
Production on Flava is handled in full by London-based duo, Hybrid Freqs, who bring their particular brand of bespoke beat-making to the mix. It was a smart move by Watusi, as it gives the album the cohesion needed and also allows for him to find a good synchronicity with his production team; something that is harder to accomplish when you’re working with multiple names.
It’s a richly varied selection of beats too, with the luxurious funk rhythms of ‘Wagwan’ and the drum-heavy horn-flecked strains of ‘Gossamer Thread’, sitting comfortably next to the uplifting melody of ‘Jenga’ and the freeform jazz vibes of ‘Like Water’. Varied but with a unifying thread, which ties the album together perfectly.
Another positive aspect of Flava is its use of skits. A trend that has slowed down drastically since the heyday of the 90’s, but one that provided a lot of older heads with some of their fondest rap related memories. Introducing this lost joy to the younger generations is something we should all encourage.
It’s also worth mentioning Watusi’s conscious effort to avoid using expletives on the record; an admirable feat by today’s industry standards.
Aside from Watusi87 and Hybrid Freqs, the album offers up a couple more contributions along the way. Grime legend, Durrty Goodz, joins Watusi on the aforementioned ‘Wagwan’, and there is also a sublime appearance from vocalist, Nadine Caesar, on ‘Spears of Love’