REVIEW: Wara From The NBHD – ‘If Guns Could Speak PSA’

Artist: Wara From The NBHD
Album: If Guns Could Speak PSA
Genre: Hip-Hop, Rap

In a year where gun violence has demanded the nation’s collective attention, Wara From The NBHD provides vital commentary on the power of the pistol in urban centers with his sophomore offering, If Guns Could Speak PSA. As a blend of crunchy guitar-work and dynamic percussion dominates much of the record’s thunderous production (think a trappier, unhinged Yeezus), Wara exercises a bitter vengeance for the environment that forced him to stay strapped: “My future not bright, the way I’m living not right/I gotta keep my tool cocked, niggas ain’t got much time to grow/We on the shot clock.”

Wara addresses the nature of American poverty even further with cuts that paint a brutalist picture of a society slated against him and his peers. On “Don’t Call 911,” the emcee places law enforcement in his lyrical sights for not protecting people of color, while “Down Since Birth” ponders the cyclical nature of life in the hood as he watches those around him pursue revenue the only way they know; a gang-centric lifestyle that, sooner or later, will swallow them whole.

Beyond front-and-center fury toward the harsh realities black men face daily in America, Wara also dives inward on the album’s crux, “Cold-Play.” The immaculately layered track finds him addressing imperfect love through a dreamy haze of haunting organs and auto-tuned crooning that radiates heartbreak as he vocalizes the resulting uncertainty: “Not even drugs could ease the pain, but then again…but then again…”

With its cohesive approach toward expressing unrest of internal and external natures, If Guns Could Speak PSA is not only essential to hip-hop driven by social turmoil in 2015, but to hip-hop as a whole. It’s not hyperbole to say the scene has a burgeoning artistic visionary on its hands in Wara.

SCORE: 9.5/10

Mike Giegerich
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