St. Louis, Missouri artist Will Victory is back on the scene with his newest project, Spit N’ Envy Vol.3: The Forgotten Hero. Right off the bat, the production takes me back to days of scrolling on Dat Piff for the latest Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa mixtapes, a very pleasant rewind during these trying times. But the tone of frustration and reoccurring themes of racial injustice in America reminds me that these times aren’t so simple and that while these issues aren’t necessarily new, 2020 is the year that we as a country are finally fighting back.
Missouri has had some incredible artists come out of it, ranging from Nelly to Chingy. Even the rapper Huey who unfortunately just passed embraced that Southern-style, creating catchy songs that embraced the culture and environment of St. Louis. However, while these artists continued to introduce people to the city, they opened the doors for a new wave of underground artists, with Will Victory being right on the for-front for about 15 years now. After being recognized as “Unsigned Hype” by magazines such as The Source and HipHopWeekly, Will got invited to Dr. Dre’s studio in 2007 and even worked with DJ ILL WILL and DJ ROCKSTAR.
The opening track “Dedication 2 You” is one of my favorites. It opens the project up with energy and fire, while the production has the soul of an old school Lupe project. The hook is catchy and overall feels like a strong old school track. Very 2000s in the best way. It’s reminiscent, with a classic underdog story being told. I think what I like about this song is that although it’s always a bold move to start off the mixtape with something so fast-paced, he never loses momentum. Even throughout the track, the production doesn’t get boring or repetitive. There’s always a new element being added in as it progresses, and I really vibe with it. Around halfway in, the production slows down to change the pace, and the transition is beautiful. The introduction of the keys is an incredible way to maintain the original tone despite the slowed-down pace, and the little bit of synth towards the end is amazing.
The second track, “The Hero’s Lesson,” features Bobby Hemmitt preaching over a sample of Kendrick Lamar’s “Element.” The piece tells the story of how the speaker learned to take control of the elements around him, stressing the importance of channeling and being one with nature. I do love how he advises approaching the elements humbly in a mutually respectful way. Especially now, we are seeing the effect of treating the environment with respect as it’s thriving during the times of quarantine. It really was an interesting take on the sample. He continues these pieces on the 6th, 10th, and 13th tracks, breaking it up into four different parts. Each piece is uplifting and tells its own stories of race, power, inequality, and spirituality, and while they all feature their own mediums from clips of speeches to simply recording over that Kendrick sample, they’re all extremely powerful and work together for one message.
The samples used for this project are all chosen really well. Each song fits together while having its own specific sound, helping to maintain an overall theme for the project. “Extreme Attitude” has an incredible energy that helps to build the project up, especially since it follows “The Hero’s Lesson II,” and really gets that nasty Southern feel. He also does an incredible job with hooks, creating catchy melodies that really encapsulate the central idea of each song. The “My Turn Freestyle” was one of the strongest lyrically, in my opinion. The beat worked so well to transmit the aggression and passion he felt in every word. The “No Regrets” outro sampled Lauryn Hill in such a creative way while slowing things down without changing the mood of the whole tape. Each lyric is so packed with imagery and metaphors that I have to commend Will Victory on his packed word choice.
I think it’s also really cool to check out Will’s first two installments of his mixtape preceding this one. You can really see his growth as an artist in terms of flow and lyrics while still keeping that same energy and theme throughout each project. While each one shows development, they remain current with societal issues and work together to tell Will Victory’s story and journey. He continues to rep his city with pride and shows a new side of it with authentic lyrics and gritty samples.
You can check out the full project here:
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Sponsored by Will Victory.