If you love a good ol cup of joe in the morning, than COFFEE is the joint for you. Wilhelm Duke, hyperbolizes his love for the black bean of energy with a music video in dedication to it, a follow up to BOSS SHIT with RhymSter. Doing things only coffee lovers would approve of, like chilling at a coffee shop and having a coffee shower; admittedly that may be good for your scalp. Starting out with coffee on repeat on the intro, what would be assumed to be the first thought of a coffee addict as soon as they wake up, as the caffeine juice rolls down Wilhelm Dukes face. A surprisingly slow paced hip hop beat for the insanely fast heart beat you get from the bean, but either way a good song to stroll to on your way to you local coffee shop, on a morning vibe. If you can agree with and appreciate the knowledge of detail for the different brews in the Dukes lyrics, while you sip on that rocket fuel, then, you should be dancing like Wilhelm by the end of the song.
A music video can really make a song, and Wilhelm Duke, teaming up with RhymSter, create what seems like a movie. Now, this hip hop single can stand out on its own with ease, but with the help of Hayward at Beat Box Entertainment, these artists have a cinematic release on their hands. Sounding off with a sinister repeating sound, the beat comes in with some heavy bass, giving off an acid rap vibe with a hint of boss energy. The video itself is a satirical play on RhymSter’s introductory lines, “Never Disrespect, not Between Two Ferns…” referencing the show Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis as a begrudging host and interviewer.
BOSS SHIT has one message, “Roll with the punch… Roll up the blunt… Roll up them cuffs, like a Boss,” repeating in the chorus; give it a listen and it will repeat in your head. Emulating that boss attitude, Wilhelm duke gets suited up in a blue blazer, psyching himself up with confidence, causing trouble and confusion to those in his path, laughing it up with no consequence. RhymSter, who cameo’s as a producer, videographer, blind composer and a clumsy student, takes the position of the artist in interview. The two eventually box in out, back to back spitting verses, taking turns throwing shots. The entertainment value does not stop there, as the video, following the music, features some behind the scenes footage (similarly to RhymSters Music Video with Essse), and an interview snippet as well. All put together, between the cinematic video, the beat and the verses, to creating a whole skit, this is some BOSS SHIT.
Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Wilhelm Duke now resides in Chicago where he pursues hip hop independently. Starting off first making moves as a duo with another artist, he eventually disbanded to expand on his solo work. A talented artist and an innovator, with lightning fast lyricism, deep philosophies and a motivation to empower his local collective of artists. Not only pursuing music, Duke dips into journalistic writing and videographic cypher episodes, highlighting talented hip hop artists.
As if he does not write enough here on Ever Evolved as a music journalist, he adds even more to his political journal online, and gets insanely creative with how much words he can fit into a song. Does not seem to stress him as though these thoughts run though his head on a regular; his philosophical ideology may also point to the concepts in his music. With two recent releases, he conceptualizes his music as it would be on the radio, and in another track he raps about the divine feminine, independent women of the world. The radio concept is appropriately titled POP FLOW and the feminine track, Y.D.N.A.M.
POP FLOW is more relaxed lyrically compared to his other tracks, notably in his latest LP THE ROBBER BARON, and tracks like WANT SMOKE. Perhaps done purposely, as radio plays are simplistic in style and lyrics? Y.D.N.A.M. takes on a different persona, as Duke rapes over an R&B beat, experimenting with vocalizing, to take to empowering women. Pointing at perspectives that negate the power of women, in the world and in relationships, Duke sees people, of all kinds, as equal in potential and in their rights. There is always something to take from when listening to Wilhelm Duke, with his lyricism being catchy and holding metaphoric wisdom simultaneously, read between the lines!
One of the things I love most about Ever Evolved is the diversity between all of the artists in the collective. This week’s Artist Of The Week goes to a musician who brings a whole new element to the collective and that would be rapper Wilhelm Duke. A wordsmith with loads of technical skill, Duke peppers his verses with all types of different flow patterns and unique deliveries. He is an artist who brings something new to every track he lands on, always keeping the listener on their toes. He exudes a sly sense of confidence in his voice as he demonstrates a high level of command on the microphone.
All of these strengths come through on his new single WANT SMOKE. Produced by Joey Bandino, the instrumental is bleak and menacing. The bass here is grumbling and authoritative while the percussion is offbeat and hard-hitting. Though minimalistic in scope, Bandino does a wonderful job of creating a dark atmosphere. Duke’s lyricism fits the mood of the instrumental to a T. He explores themes of depression and loss of hope. He also shows a rich sense of variety in his wordplay as his lines range from being animated and funny to witty and braggadocios.
His vocal performance also stands out. Though just 26, Duke has the confidence of a seasoned veteran as he sounds like someone 15 years his senior. His delivery is weighty yet easy-going as he weaves together a myriad of flows and lyrical concepts throughout the track’s duration. There is a lot going on here but Duke makes it look effortless.
At just 1:50 in length, WANT SMOKE is a grimy, lyrical trap banger. This track would work really well either as a stand alone single or as part of a project. To me this track captures the essence of who Wilhelm Duke is as an artist and MC, as he shows a great deal of technical skill, easygoing charisma and rich imagery on this track.