fitted down from the prose and poise,
I’m in the wind, deployed.
I left the game in ‘moil,
my cup oil.
– What’s That
Portrait: Daniel Oduntan
A rebirth of sorts for Hal Donell Williams Jr (the artist formerly known as Pyramid Vritra), Sonar is the new record from him in full on rap mode, with a producer steeped in legacy taking the sonic reigns: Leon Sylvers IV.
Below we premiere the video for What’s That, a jump-up theme tune of sorts for the project. Packed with 808s over sweet soul, the video’s an LA camcorder cruise directed by well respected videographer Enkrypt Los Angeles.
The multi-faceted Vritra says, “for me this was one of the most fun to execute. Most of my self-produced music falls closer to the experimental spectrum, but I feel like I’ve never focused on a solid ‘rap’ album. This is that. I feel like fans of my music wanted that.
“Leon has been one of my favourite producers for a long time. With him taking control of the production it freed me to focus on flow, style, and rhythm pockets. The name Sonar is fitting as well. Makes me think of beams. What made rap interesting to me in the first place was style. This is me beaming that style and putting it on the radar”.
“This record has been a long time coming and is very special to me,” adds Leon Sylvers IV. “I’ve always wanted to produce an album, front to back, with a dope artist like Hal.
“Hal’s confidence, knack for words and syncopation over my production makes for a unique project. We’re emitting our music into the world, measuring how far it reaches and determining where we should go from here. Hence the album title.”
This new album follows up Vritra’s previous release on Bad Taste Records, 2019’s excellent and mutli-layered Wilma Vritra album with Wilma Archer (whose own follow up, A Western Circular, is out now). Having previously released on Stones Throw and Alpha Pup’s The Order Label, Vritra’s widened his fan base far beyond his original Odd Future affiliations.
Leon Sylvers IV is the son of singer, songwriter and producer Leon Sylvers III of The Sylvers, and had his first songwriting credit at the age of 7 for the group Men Of Vision, signed to Michael Jackson‘s MJJ label.