Willie the Kid and Bronze Nazareth - The Living Daylights (Review)

Willie the Kid and Bronze Nazareth - The Living Daylights

"The Living Daylights" is a collaborative album between Michigan emcee Willie the Kid and Wu-Tang affiliate Bronze Nazareth. The album features guest appearances from Roc Marciano, Sean Price, Boldy James, LA the Darkman and others and is fully produced by Bronze Nazareth himself. It was released on February 11, 2014 via Embassy Ent. / Black Day In July Productions.

1) Overture - Intro.

2) Avalon (featuring Roc Marciano) - The first track on the album has pretty much the exact same instrumental as "Good Morning" off of Bronze Nazareth's "The Great Migration" album and features an airy horn sample layered over minimal drums. This was always one of my favorite beats off Bronze's album, so I can't be mad about the fact that he recycled it, especially due to the fact that both Willie the Kid and Roc Marciano sound perfect over the instrumental. This shit is just beautiful and is a great way to kick off the album. Very dope.

3) The Blitz (featuring S-Class Sonny) - Bronze Nazareth comes with a chopped up, soulful vocal sample on this track and the shit is banging. I'm not familiar with S-Class Sonny but he rips the first verse while Willie the Kid closes out the track beautifully. The thing I like about both this track and the previous one is that both Willie and the guests featured so far have a similar style, kicking what seems like boastful, stream-of-consciousness rhymes full of vivid imagery and metaphors. Another dope track.

4) Breakfast In France - Willie the Kid kicks some more boastful rhymes over a smooth instrumental with an almost celebratory feel to it, featuring some breezy guitars, soaring strings, soft pianos and low-key drums. The beat and rhymes are quite good, but I'm not really feelin' the vocals on the chorus. This song would have been much better with either a different vocalist on the hook or just a different chorus all together. Still, not bad.

5) Sweet Sorrow - Now this is better. Bronze Nazareth delivers another ill vocal loop based instrumental, this time with some extra strings and light horns to add some more depth to the beat. The instrumental's definitely got my head nodding and Willie comes correct over it, rapping about the hardships of having monogamous relationship while being on tour and while being out on his grind. This ones a banger.

6) The Guilt - Willie kicks some story rhymes about an inexperienced 17 year old boy who dies in a senseless act of violence while trying to make his big brother proud by breaking into a house. The beat is appropriately somber and the rhymes paint a vivid picture in your mind, showing off Willie the Kids story telling abilities off very nicely. I believe this was the first single released in promotion of the album as well and it even got a video to go along with it. Dope shit.

7) Fucking Blades (featuring L.A.D) - Woah. Now this shit is fire. Bronze Nazareth comes through with what is probably my favorite instrumental on the album so far, featuring another chopped up vocal loop layered over some head nodding drums that just come together to sound dope as hell. The beat is banging and both Willie the Kid and his brother L.A.D. rip it. I've been a big fan of La the Darkman since I first heard his "Devil in a Blue Dress" track off of DJ Muggs' "Soul Assassin's 1" compilation album back in 97. Too bad he has only dropped one studio album since then. Regardless, this ones a banger.

8) Wu Babies (featuring Young Dirty Bastard and Sun God) - Willie teams up with a couple of second generation Wu-Tang Clan emcees, with Sun God being the eldest son of Ghostface Killah and with Young Dirty Bastard's father being self-explanatory. The beat on here is somewhat lackluster when compared to the previous song, but its still pretty good. Lyrically both Willie the Kid and Sun God sound nice on here as well, with Y.D.B. coming with the weakest verse in my opinion. I've always thought Sun God was a pretty competent emcee, but Y.D.B. has yet to win me over with his crazy style that is very similar in vein to his pops, just not as unique. Eh, this one is good, but it could have been better.

9) Ain't Nothing (featuring Boldy James) - Like this one. Bronze Nazareth comes through with yet another ill instrumental, this time with some horns, a gritty vocal sample and stomping drums. Willie recruits Detroit emcee Boldy James (who dropped one of my favorite albums of 2013 with his collaboration project with Alchemist - "My 1st Chemistry Set") and both emcees come correct, kicking some street rhymes over the head nodding instrumental. Another dope track.

10) Coming From (featuring Bronze Nazareth) - Bronze decides to show off his mic skills on this track, kicking some rhymes about where he comes from over a soulful vocal sample and somewhat mellow drums. While Bronze is pretty good on the mic, I've always felt that he was a better producer than he was an emcee. With that being said, he actually really impresses me on here and seems to easily keep up with Willie lyrically. While its not as good as the previous song, this cut is still pretty dope.

11) Delirium (featuring Sha Stimuli and Sean Price) - This track was released as a promo track a few months back and I've kept it in rotation ever since. The instrumental has an almost ominous vibe to it, with some fluttering strings and a darker piano loop layered over hard ass drums. As should be expected, all three emcees sound really great over the beat, especially Sha Stimuli who just slaughters his verse. Dope shit.

12) Ice Cold Guinness (featuring L.A.D) - Well this is a little strange. This song was actually released a few years ago and I believe it eventually ended up on La the Darkmans "Return of the Darkman Pt 2" mixtape. The fact that it is a L.A.D. solo track makes its appearance on this album kind of odd, but it does feature production by Bronze even if it doesn't feature a verse from Willie the Kid. It may sound like I'm complaining, but I'm really not, since this song seemed to be La's first steps toward a return to that grimy Wu sound we have all been waiting for since "Heist of the Century." The beat is dope and L.A.D. kills it, but I was really hoping that they had added a Willie verse to make the song a bit longer and to make it fit better on the album. Still, this is ill.

13) Bless My Food (featuring Tekh Togo) - As is this track. The album closes out with another one of my favorite songs on the project, with Bronze's instrumental on here giving me flashbacks of that classic Wu-Tang sound. The beat is fire and both Willie the Kid and guest Tekh Togo just rip it. I'm not really familiar with Tekh Togo, but now I feel like I should check out more of his work. This is banging and is a real dope way to end the album.

I'm going to rate the album

4.25 / 5

because its banging mostly the whole way through. Bronze Nazareth definitely comes correct with the beats on every track, providing lush instrumentals that are usually centered around a soulful vocal loop and gritty drums that should get your head nodding every time. Willie the Kid is also on point throughout the entire project, kicking some ill rhymes that are densely packed full of his usual vibrant imagery and witty metaphors. The only things holding back the album are the weak chorus on "Breakfast in France" and a few other tracks that don't quite achieve the great heights set by some of the other bangers on the LP. Still, the album is fire and will probably end up being one of my favorite albums of 2014.

Favorite tracks: Avalon, Sweet Sorrow, Fucking Blades, Ain't Nothing, Delirium, Bless My Food