When Wayne Watts spits, I listen.
From his days as an undergrad, rapping at UMD Juke Joints to his most-recent endeavors with the Dream Create Inspire Tour, the Baltimore native always has my attention. Heck, that’s one of the reasons why he ranks as one of my favorite collaborators over the years. His latest effort, a three-track EP with Graffititech (four if you count the live EP attached at the end) entitled HomeGold|002, tackles a lot of ground in just under 10 minutes. Wayne let me peep the project early and I’ve got to tell you all: it hits its mark. In fact, to me, it’s his best project ever–and that’s saying a lot for a guy who’s been rapping most of his life.
Born under the pressures of COVID-19, racial tension and social unrest, each one of HomeGold‘s tracks deals with putting home first. Be that your hometown, your fellow man, or just your friends and family, this collection of tracks contains tips to live a better and more-fulfilling life. Each track is full of tidbits about Black lives and utilizes Genius to further explain why this project is important to Watts as a creative but also as a Black man. Each line is multilayered, referencing past and present Black leaders while also hammering home the point that we need to stick together and push forward if we really want to succeed. It’s a dense project, one that the aforementioned Genius lyrics help explain what he’s aiming for.
Speaking with Wayne about the project, HomeGold has been about “flipping old[er] records [both his own and familial works] to show what 2020 felt like” to him while also talking about our connectivity and a necessity to learn from the past, as well as the present and future generations. While trying to put everything he felt without mincing his words, Watts definitely hit home with this collection of tracks. They are equally dedicated to elevating our communities as well as paying homage to those same communities. Our trees are only as strong as our weakest branch, so this sort of approach is needed to reinforce where we came from, where we are, and how far we can still go.
Check out the project below via Bandcamp below and remember to support dope music in all its forms.