Talk to Leroy Shingu in person, and you’ll probably find him to be a happy, approachable and likable guy. And as Well$,
he’s emerged as the most complete and commercially viable hip-hop act in the Triangle since the departure of King Mez
, receiving coverage from the biggest publications in hip-hop every time he releases a single. Considering his affable demeanor and relative success, then, it may come as a surprise that on the new song “130,” he’s rapping with the fury of someone who has never had someone smile at him in his entire life. Well$ isn’t a mad rapper. He's just an emcee with a temper. In addition to Well$'s performance, the production from Mota Raps makes this one a must-listen.
Even in an era of hip-hop when self-deprecation and vulnerability are more welcomed than ever before, we’re still drawn to the magnetic aura of those lightning-bolt personalities with a sense of self-assuredness so unflinching it verges on a kind of social disorder. (Just look at the leader for the Republican presidential nomination). We can’t help but indulge ourselves when a rapper attacks an instrumental as though intending real physical harm, without the slightest hint of hesitancy or self-doubt. That’s Well$ on “130”—and “Coldest Heart,”
and most other songs we’ve heard since the indie/hip-hop experimental sounds of his debut album, MT$YD: Revenge Of The African Booty Scratcher
With “130,” Well$ snarls his way through two minutes of unrelenting boasts, jabs and proclamations, at times dropping his voice into a characteristically beyond-low register that contains all the delicacy of an industrial wood-chipper. And is Well$ hinting at a broader theme for his next project? “130” is his second straight single to feature an MPAA-style “Restricted” label on the cover artwork, a la an R-rated movie. Only time will tell, but as usual, the Immaculate Taste crew seems to be thinking beyond just the music.
WELL$ - 130