Rockwila
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Rockwila

Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Hip Hop

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“You can tell that I’m different; I’m not the average rapper.” Those are the first words spoken from Rashaad Wright a.k.a. Rockwila on his debut release, the L7 EP. In that moment, he could have uttered the understatement of the year. His very existence turns the expectations of casual rap fans on their head. This Kansas City, MO resident spits with a vengeance while speaking about the importance of being who you were created to be. His flow may have been influenced by big name artists like Jay-Z, but he tirelessly represents for the geeks among us, unapologetically including himself within the number.
His unconventional rhymes are supported by production from S. Jones, creating a mixture of Southern style bounce and grit with live instrumentation that makes each track larger than life. “One In A Million” isn’t just a song, but a creed to live by, and Rockwila’s out to spread the message far and wide. Over high-powered acidic squiggles that worm their way over bombastic beats and crashing cymbals, he raps about a middle-class upbringing with a father in the home and the pointlessness of trying to be something that he isn’t. As he shouts the chorus with middle fingers extended to the world, electronic horns blare behind him in triumph, slightly medieval in mood, but conveying victory with every note.
A song like “Rockstar” was made for S. Jones’s brand of beat making, which plays heavily with live elements over programmed beats. The sampled drums on this cut could fill an arena with its bass kick that punches you square in the chest and snares that crack like fireworks. Guitar-led melodies ride the big beat with caution in their chords, which are acknowledged by Rockwila’s first-person perspective of an artist’s rise and fall before fans and the media. Dreams of making it big soon turn into nightmares, a scenario mirrored by the song’s most insightful line: “To experience the highs, gotta go through the lows.”
“Geek Squad” is a rallying cry for nerds everywhere, an invitational piece that welcomes the unpopular to the party with open arms. Its hard rock edge contains dark guitar riffs and dramatic piano drones that combine with stoic gangster beats for a head-banging effect. Rockwila remains defiant throughout his verses, calling out the hipster’s attempt to make trendy what he has been ridiculed for most of his life. He runs through his second verse at breakneck speed, attacking the beat like a general leading the charge in a civil war against the status quo.
Too hardcore to be nerdcore while bearing a distinct lyrical difference from his contemporaries, Rockwila is hip-hop’s Clark Kent, masquerading as an IT technician by day only to transform into a microphone fiend once the sun goes down. He could be seen as the place where the humor of The Fresh Prince and the ferocious delivery of Eminem intersect. It’s an unlikely combination, but the L7 EP makes everyday rap for regular people a triumphant reality. Being square has rarely ever sounded this rebel rousing before.
Artist: Rockwila
Album: L7 EP
Reviewed by Jason Randall Smith
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
- Jason Randall Smith


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Rockwila (born Rashaad Wright) is an American Hip-Hop artist from Kansas City, Mo. In 2004, Rockwila started his career as a “hype man” for another local artist. He built a reputation for being entertaining, funny and clever due to his high energy (and often improvised) performances at downtown KC venues such as the Hurricane and the Newsroom. After being featured on numerous mixtapes and albums, his intelligent lyrics and cunning rhyme scheme gained him recognition in the local scene. “I learned how to rhyme from Eminem and Jay-Z,” Rockwila said. “I consider myself to be the voice for the Average Joe.” When he says average, he does not mean in the world of hip hop music, because Rockwila is not your typical rap artist. His lyrics touch on the differences that make him stand out, such as being raised in the middle class, struggling with popularity and working as an IT technician. His admiration for live instrumentation inspired him to work on his debut EP in 2012, titled L7, a dedication about his “geeky” ways and being referred to as a “square” growing up.

L7 is a lyrical collection of original Hip-Hop songs with a slight rock influence through the live instrument sounds in the composition. The singles from L7 (featured on CD Baby, Spotify and iTunes) were released in October 2012 with the full EP set to release later in the year. In September 2012, one of the singles titled “Rockstar” won Hate It or Love It, a segment on the All Out Show on Sirius satellite radio’s Shade45, which features radio personalities Rude Jude and Lord Sear.

In the interest of being the self-proclaimed voice for the Average Joe, L7 also features “One in a Million”, an edgy anthem that pays homage to being unique and “Geek Squad”, a song depicting a revolution for geeks and nerds alike.