"WHATCHU' TALKIN' 'BOUT WEDNESDAY" - STORM WATKINS (AGAIN)
Storm Watkins again? Aww yeah!! Again n' again!
By sheer coincidence the last WTBW post I did was an interview with Storm Watkins back in September of 2017. This time the post is about his latest instrumental album "Make Producers Great Again" that was released on Monday of this week.
Storm hit me up at the beginning of this year letting me know this was in the works and I had hoped to follow up with him and build expectations, but it's here now and here are my thoughts.
Firstly let's talk about the cover art - a red cap with the album title emblazoned on the front - akin to the Make America Great Again cap Donald Trump used in his 2016 campaign. For half the nation it's a symbol of shaking up the system, draining the swamp, a call to action for the working class. For others it's a seen as a symbol of hate and has been used as an excuse for violent attacks both physical and against free speech. Whichever side of the political aisle you sit on it's certainly unmistakable and thought provoking.
Here's what Storm has to say about choosing the polarising imagery -
"Well, I chose the title for 2 reasons. The main reason was because production in hip-hop to me has become very lazy. Meaning it's basically spoon fed these days. Almost every beat you hear has the same hand me down loops/drums/sounds. Like it's very rare to find a producer who still goes out their way to dig for sounds/drums. And the second reason being that I knew naming a project with a title that strong would push me to limits I didn't know I could reach. It would challenge me to make the music speak for itself. The amount of work that went into making this is what I mean by making producers great again. Even down to the detail within the mixing of the album. The artwork itself was just simply me putting my twist on the whole MAGA phrase."
For me in the current climate it would have been equally lazy to make this about politics in any serious way. Storm has shown that despite all the noise the music or to be more precise the craft is what's paramount, and that's how I think it should be not just in Hip-Hop but across all genres.
And importantly not an homage to Fred Durst.....
.... I'm just kidding.
For those still unfamiliar with Storm's work once again I strongly suggest you head to his Bandcamp page and download everything (instrumental and vocal) you can. I can all but guarantee there's something for everyone to connect with. Storm says this was the longest he's worked on a project and having listened to Make Producers Great Again half a dozen times in the last twenty-four hours the diligence is apparent.
The project is instantly immersive with bold yet refined production, faultless sampling and each track is accompanied by a somewhat imperturbable bass. It's predominantly melancholy in a very edifying manner and as promised there's a vast collection of influences throughout, from Dionne Warwick to Dipset at least that's what my mind conjured up as it perambulated the forty-two minutes and thirteen seconds. Put on some headphones, roll down your car windows and judge for yourself. You can listen to and buy the album HERE.
I want to thank Storm for keeping in touch and for continuing to create art of this magnitude. 🙏