At just under two months old, WXNDER$ latest EP already feels timeless.
“LORD WXNDER$”, the most recent EP from Houston rapper WXNDER$, is covered in dusk. WXNDER$ emphasises intimacy with his steady, weighted, confident flow, like a chat on the motorway in the quiet early night. His lyrics are laced with conversational branches like “I used to ask for ice cream money, I used to keep the water running and the lights on sunny”, reining the heavy tone of advice with a gale of chopped and screwed effects and letting each element merge into place. All the grit and heat of metaphorical tires on asphalt lands at the listener’s ear, made yet warmer, yet more saturated, by expensive sax and slowly crunching kick drums. Production is lush, particularly on second track “SNAPS”, which features a satisfyingly crisp mix and drums that start, stop, and speed up at their own free will. Fittingly, WXNDER$ sits on the back of a car on the cover art, as if waiting for someone to join him and hear his chopped up stories. He keeps his passengers guessing as to when he’ll accelerate or just thrive off of the potential energy at his fingertips.
At just under 12 minutes the tape begs for replays. Luxurious and decorated from top to bottom, “LORD WXNDER$” is a lavish experience time and time again. Filtered synths and arrogant 808 lines fill the title track; it’s by far the most extravagant listen, vocals are a lofi echo in contrast with smooth instrumentation and plainly excellent drums. WXNDER$’ lyrics command focus. On opener “BLUE FACES” he speaks slowly, the syllables under control; “I be that dirty wizard tryna see that thirty million before I’m thirty, chilling, and can barely see my children”. Here, and on the following track “SNAPS”, he bends his voice like guitar strings while piano samples wobble as if from a cassette, everything is in motion – doubly impressive for such a downtempo set of songs. At times the rapper’s staggered flow is as dizzying as his imagery; “Straight from Texas, Team Olympics, watch the pack do acrobats, can’t touch my toes but the money stretch”.
WXNDER$ has been around for a good while – his YouTube channel has songs nearly a decade old – but this EP is by far his most refined. On “LORD WNXDER$” he raps “We here forever, go hear that 2K4EVA”, linking to a mixtape from years ago. Moving forward through the years hasn’t made him any less charismatic, because like the music on this project WXNDER$ is timeless.
Listen to “LORD WXNDER$” here.
– Jamie (Staff @108MICS)