Over the past four years, Brooklyn MC Radamiz has made a reputation for himself in the New York underground as a gifted lyricist. He’s performed at music festivals (including SXSW), and was even “major league” enough to have his “Ali’s My Big Brother” track played on Hot 97.
The wonder in Radamiz’ come up is that he’s maintained a buzz without a full solo project to hang his hat on. That’s changed with the Writeous, his debut project that releases today. Radamiz has been preparing the album for over four years, and it sounds like it.
The first thing I noticed is how polished the record sounds. Radamiz recalls spending over $5,000 on Writeous, and you can hear every cent. From the pleasant thump of “poweR”, to the dusty-yet-crispy drums on “Ali’s My Big Brother”, the record sounds sonically refined throughout. Of course, it helps that the producers and MCs fulfill their roles.
From the first track, “God Talks To Me A Lot”, Radamiz sets the thematic tone for the record. “I knew I was the best when nobody else did,” Radamiz proclaims over Goonie Tunes‘ feathery production.
It seems almost in the DNA of hip hop to let past struggles and doubters instill a chip on one’s shoulder. Many use that narrative to justifies bitterness or disregard for others, but that’s not Radamiz. By the next track, the Dre Dollasz-crafted “Sumner”, Radamiz contends that “happiness is really priceless when you know your worth.”
Radamiz is at his best when contextualizing his place in the world around him, such as on “Am I Black Too?” and “New York Don’t Love Me.” The passionate wails of singers Chris Wattz, Kye Russoul and Oxytocin over the stirring saxophone sample on “Am I Black Too?” are some of the most engrossing moments of the album. Radamiz rises to the occasion, lamenting the plight of inner-city youth. He surmises that his people “got hurt by defeat and that made us some sore losers.”
Even in the midst of a perilous state, Radamiz seeks solutions, pondering, “maybe I could bring change to him if I sang to him.” He masterfully sums up the perceived necessity of the street life by rhyming, “money ain’t the root of all evil if you the soil.”
The guitar-laden “New York Don’t Love Me” again shows Radamiz’ knack for concisely diagnosing a problem by condemning “too many selfies at the shows instead of repping where you come from.”
Though Radamiz shines the most on his solo tracks—and would’ve been better served by one or two more—the guests on the project all hold their own. Radamiz showcases the best chemistry with his Mogul Club partners.
Each member brings a different dynamic to their track, showcasing the versatility of the collective. On the aforementioned “God Talks To Me”, Madwiz is laidback and introspective, noting, “my mother I respect her, I don’t understand her methods but when I get on I’ll bless her.”
History’s entrance on “poweR” is one of the most memorable spots on the album. As the idyllic song transitions to churning 808 production, the MC/Producer struts over his own beat, while imploring the listener to“take the time to recognize your blessings.”
On the momentous “Maintaining”, Radamiz and King Critical spit meandering double-time flows over Rudy Mills’ cavernous drums. Critical’s verse builds upon itself, reaching a passionate apex before declaring, “unification is all that we got.”
One powerful aspect of Writeous is nearly every verse having a nugget of social commentary or personal empowerment. Even as five MCs vie for lyrical supremacy on producer B L A N K’s sinister “1CRWN”, it’s done so with an admirable collective consciousness.
It’s a testament to Radamiz’ artistic vision that he collaborated exclusively with a slew of thoughtful individuals who generally paralleled his worldview. Radamiz has been through a lot as a young person of color, but Writeous exhibits that he’s internally examined his plight to the point where he understands it and embraces it. The compact Writeous project is his way of paying it forward, by relating his particular struggle to the larger human condition in the hopes that a wayward listener may follow his path of enlightenment. Or at the very least nod their head to the dope ass rhymes and rhythms.
Writeous is available now on Radamiz’ Soundcloud. You can stream it below.