I love when an artist creates a project not just from the heart but from even deeper inside. “Heavy” is one of those rare moments. Willy Graves is not trying to create something commercial, but something personal that comes from the universal. Artists are at their best when drawing on experiences of the moment and crafting their projects from it. Graves is brilliant at it, as he draws from the past and the present, while keeping his eye on the future, and his focus the moment. You can feel the heart and soul he put into this project. You would be hard pressed to find a deeper, much better sounding project in 2020 than this, from another underground artist.
In a world that seems to be constantly in despair, the glue that bind trials and tribulations is found in the people who directly affront the issues at hand, no holds barred. Willy Graves is one of those people. Among other things, the lyrics on “Heavy” describe clearly that Graves is no stranger to being politically or socially aware.
Part entertainment, part bars and part educational, the EP lays on the heartstrings of soulful voicings, piano-driven bliss, electric bass lines and percolating percussion. Sonically, the recording is a stylistic-blending time capsule of urban sounds. From the Rhythm & Soul of “Kiss, to the tribal percussion of “Roots”, and the jazzy soul-searching saxophones on “Depending on Me”.
Lyrically, it’s a hard-hitting reality of the good, the bad and the ugly, in Willy Graves’ vision of things, both universal, and personal. From the EP “Heavy” comes the soulful single “Say Less”, which rides on a lusciously layered beat and Graves’ smooth crooning, as he proves himself to be just as efficient turning out a mellifluous chorus, as he is rapping a fiery verse.
The rapper’s often storytelling capabilities sit front and center, over a sultry instrumental that sets a chilling mood, as the audience are led down a path laced with relationship intricacies, demanding the full uninterrupted attention of its listener. The track’s subject matter does all the talking with Willy Graves on top of his game and in fine voice, but the ear-catching production speaks almost as loud.
Taking it back to the essence of the art, a time when lyrics were king, Willy Graves unfolds his narrative like an artist who operates from the heart and soul. On the one hand, the drama of being lied to, on the other, the wisdom of knowing he’s been lied to.
Graves enthralls with deep and meaningful verses, mostly sung in this case, but just as impacting as his usually rapped bars. The quality of his storytelling and ear for mellifluous hooks keep the track ticking perfectly.
From the moment you hear Willy Graves, you get the impression that his work ethic, social awareness, and natural intelligence are key reasons to why his music is so captivating. He certainly has many more musical avenues and sonic directions to explore, as the tracks on “Heavy” suggest. This is an absolutely desirable sign from a musician of Willy Graves’ quality.