The new album by wotts, b, breathes a hopeful new life into the local hip hop scene here in Ottawa. Released on November 25 and produced by Alex Jakimczuk, the new album by wotts features a number of capital city rappers. The background mix of beat-boxing and sultry electric guitar combined with razor sharp verses makes b the most intriguing and original rap album I have heard in years.
Starting off with the track “clonewars” listener is treated to an earful of aggressive vocals instantly reminding you of the original gangsta rap greats like N.W.A and Nas. Then the beat spits alongside a low-key guitar solo making for an atmospheric foray into verbal-rhythmics. Track two, “bombeh” starts off with slow guitar picking reminiscent of classic southern rock mixed with a west coast surf vibe. About a minute in the song breaks away from the chill groove and goes down the path of anxiety. Harsh effects and harsher vocals bring a rave feel to the game.
The mix up then goes right back down to slow, keeping the ear drums vibrating. “musings 1 [interlude]”, “the drill” and “musings 2 [interlude]” keep the jams coming with wotts’ innovative mix of sounds and words. The group changes it up with “omens [feat. Dynamite Motel]” starting the song off with an a capella trumpet sound, if you didn’t know better you would swear its actual brass sounding and not just lips. The hook is crisp and a clear homage to classic R&B hooks not unlike Faith Evans. The song breaks down into a duet between the beautifully clean singing and the beat-boxed trumpet; I can safely say I have never heard anything like it before.
Wotts brings back the same energy we felt at the opening and combines it with the eccentricities we as listeners have learned and come to love throughout the record. “Hotter than a Molotov,” bumpin’ out of the speakers with that gnarly guitar in its wake. The guest spots are poignant and well placed, adding a nice flair to the last track. Finishing off strong, I can think of no better way to end an album then a squealing guitar solo.
b is the follow up to wott’s December 2014 debut a, and I hope we don’t have to wait another year for c.