Whenever I come across hip-hop mix-tapes from college students, I usually find the artist to be a sad, washed-up version of Sam Adams or Mac Miller, rapping solely about partying.
But never in my life have I listened to one of these albums and found it to be so poetic, so true and so heartfelt – especially not after the first track.
Enter Bradley student Josiah Williams and his mix-tape “The Monday After.” I first heard Williams’ music at a Braves Sound Entertainment event last spring and was intrigued by his charisma and his genuine desire to share his music. With “The Monday After,” Williams’ already has me craving more tunes.
The mix-tape kicks off with JWill himself thanking his audience for listening over the instrumental music of Drake’s “Over My Dead Body.” Instantly, the listener feels Williams’ appreciation as he confidently says “just the fact that you’re giving a percentage of your time to listen to what I have to say, that means the world.”
Well, after what you listen to you should be thanking him. Williams is a triple-threat, in the sense that he raps, sings and recites poems over a variety of chill tracks.
You’re first invited in after Williams’ monologue to what feels like the early hip-hop days of record scratches and upbeat drum tempos. “Carefree (Go!)” sets the mood for the album; Williams is honest and willing to express his emotions and talk about love. He croons “have you ever thought about feeling love before you make it?” This track makes it irresistible to nod your head with the beat, and, being a female, I appreciate hearing hip-hop respecting women instead of degrading them.
Indigo Breeze is featured on two tracks, and their presence makes enjoyable songs. My favorite of the two, “The Night You Fall [In Love],” is awesome for any party and captures a pumped-up club sound. Williams’ delivers with witty rhymes and puns, and even gives a shout-out to Brave Sounds. I’m not a huge fan of auto-tune to begin with, but Indigo Breeze does a fantastic job of utilizing it in both tracks.
The track with the most soul is “When I’m Alone,” where Williams samples Adele’s “Lovesong.” Granted, any song sampling Adele is bound for passion, but it’s also a monumental challenge to live up to her voice. With Adele’s singing sped up and a killer supporting drum beat, it makes for a sweet and simple hook, and Williams’ emotion is so concrete you can feel his presence.
However, my favorite song off of this mix-tape is “Don’t Apologize.” It kicks off with a poetic narrative, configuring a great visual for listeners, but Williams’ use of word play in the chorus takes the song to the next level. He uses an interesting, different flow in this track, and the steady rhythm ties it all together.
Overall, this is one mix-tape you can’t pass up. If the fact that Williams’ is a Bradley student isn’t enough, it’s his honesty that should seal the deal. In fact, his love songs are so good I predict a line of girls chasing after him for some original JWill poetry (myself included).
What to dance to: “The Night to Fall [In Love]”
What to work out to: “Yours”
What to drive to: “First Train to Her”