Back in the days when I was a teenager, I admittedly listened to a lot of Def Jux and a bit of Atmosphere. These days I can’t say I’m as enamored of the sounds and artists that dominated much of the East Coast indie scene for the early 2000s, but I am generally curious to hear artists weened on these influences.
So it was a nice surprise to find a lengthy e-mail about Boston rapper H.W. in my inbox this afternoon. I’ll let part of the e-mail do the talking:
Paving his own path in the Boston hip hop scene with countless shows under his belt, H.W. (also known as Hazardous Wastes) brings us his newest effort, A Year’s Worth of Worry. This release is a cohesive collection of songs that share his vivid stories of life’s challenges. Once again, H.W. shows the hip hop community how he contributes to the Boston scene with a truly unique style of rap that is serious and insightful yet cynical and sarcastic. His lyrics often portray him as a sensitive person — but the intense honesty he puts behind each track maintains his hard edge. The deeply moving content of H.W.’s material on AYWOW is so powerful and real that the listener will likely develop a personal connection with his music after just a couple songs. All heart and no lies, H.W. is a passionate emcee and an aspiring entrepreneur. He is the owner of the independent label, Delusional Records, which he founded in 2002. He also works closely with DJ Emoh Betta (Deck Demons), one of Boston’s most talented DJs. H.W. has big plans for 2010 – be on the lookout.
[H.W.] has played shows with Eyedea And Abilities, Themselves (Anticon), Solillaquists Of Sound (Anti Records), Sole (Anticon/FakeFour Records). Awol One (FakeFour Records), Ikon The Mic King, Pierre The Motionless (France), Tame One(currently signed with Amalgam Digital), Brzowski (milled pavement records), RADIx (Early Spotter Records, has gotten coverage on MTV2, Urb Magazine), Akrobatik (Fat Beats Records), Access Immortal (Early Spotter Records), Chachi, Dez (FingerPrint Records), Joey Beats, Poorly Drawn People, Labeless Illteligence. He has toured Nationally and International (most recently Canada).
When I see names like Eyedea and Abilities, Themselves, Sole, and Awol One, I have a pretty good idea of the sort of waters through which I’m about to wade–and this knowledge doesn’t necessarily provide a positive outlook on the coming listening experience. Thankfully, H.W. foregoes some of the painful stylistic choices of his predecessors in favor of a straight forward style that highlights his candor and occasionally nimble wordplay.
H.W.’s album, A Year’s Worth of Worry, is a quality listen, a well-considered effort with some dope beats and highly personal rhymes. There are moments in which you can tell H.W. is still trying to get his bearings as a rapper (a few clunky couplets here and there are overly wordy) and a few songs seem redundant, but his emotionally honest rhymes are certain to appeal to fans of Atmosphere and the Rhymesayers aesthetic in general. At very least, it is nice to see an artist commit himself to a particular sound–both in production and rhyming–and effectively wield it in service of his personality. Definitely worth a download.
“My Happy Song” by H.W.