Review Summary: Wrist in the pot eatin' ramen like it's Ruth Chris....
On February 21, 2018, Towkio donned a spacesuit, climbed into a shuttle attached to a helium balloon and floated 100,000 feet into to the stratosphere to “drop” his new album WWW
in a publicity stunt no doubt enabled by being one of Rick Rubin’s first new hip-hop signings in over 20 years. While many of today’s valiant keyboard warriors will attempt to hide their jealousy by questioning the point attempting such a feat, the fact remains that the guy went to space. This stunt denotes the man’s approach to his music as well. From his breakout tape .Wav Theory
until now Towkio has exhibited an almost blinding confidence in his craft, charging forward with a recipe not wholly his own but certainly not a photocopy either. That trend continues with WWW
, a debut dripping with noxious levels of personality and the production chops to match. The Chicago native has always given fans a different look which each release and WWW
is a different look still, but there’s a twinkle in the eye here.
While strange to say, WWW
like a debut album. Opening with the introspective “Swim”, Towkio really sets the stage for an uplifting and vibrant album with “Symphony”, a lyrically dense stream-of-consciousness style track that shows Towkio’s willingness to dabble in some off-kilter arrangements. Small experiments like this pepper WWW
and combined with Towkio’s charm, create a variety of memorable moments throughout the album. The slow jam “Morning View” holds one of the best ideas of WWW
in SZA’s fantastic feature adding to a supremely serene and chilled vibe. “Slow jam” being the operative word that really highlights the debut-ism of WWW
, the notion of box checking. Towkio has his slow jam in “Morning View”, his onomatopoeic banger in “Drift”, even his horribly ill-conceived WTF song with “Disco”. This box checking is magnified even greater by Towkio’s lyrics, which range from lovely soul-searching prose to cookie-cutter irreverent babble, too often setting up camp in the latter and distracting from the album’s greatest attribute.
excels at is where it counts, the music. There’s great diversity in the beats and while a good portion of the album revolves around a core of Chicago house, a few curveballs like the beat progression of “Drift” or the breakdown in “Loose” show a man flush with ideas and unafraid to use them. There’s been a gradual build in hype for Towkio since the release of .Wav Theory
and although WWW
isn’t the perfect culmination some may have expected, the rampant charismatic force here begets a mountain of potential. And while the charm doesn’t completely overshadow issues common with freshman offerings, with some polish that little twinkle might require shades to even look at in the future.