Vegas x Kil - Will-Matic
The frequent collaborators Vegas and Kil create a worthy tribute to Ill Will
Vegas x Kil - Will-Matic
Vegas and Kil have a long history in making an impact on hip hop culture. Both hosted 88.9's Strictly Hip Hop at Morgan State, (Vegas took over the show from Kil). Both are hosts of popular podcasts (Kil's Apt 5B Podcast and Vegas' Hip Hop Now Podcast), and they both make dope music. Vegas is an emcee and Kil is a producer. The two have linked up for several albums over the years and their latest, Will-matic is a trubute to Vegas' cousin Ill Will. Now if that name sounds familiar it's because you’ve likely heard it before. Ill Will was Nas' best friend and was shouted out often by the emcee, starting with Illmatic which was named as such as a dedication to Will. The difference here is Will-matic is about Ill Will. Vegas shares personal stories and accounts of his cousin to pull back the curtain and unveil some of the mystery that has surrounded Will.
The format of this album is 12 tracks (6 songs and 6 interludes) all are stories about Ill Will, with 1 song, Impeach Vegas pt. 2 being a remixed version of Impeach Vegas. For the most part the Interludes directly relate to the topic of the song that follows it.
The album kicks off with the first interview. Vegas recalls how Ill Will gave him the nickname 'Big Steve' while he was with Nas. This ties directly into the first song Esteban Gigante which is a loose Spanish translation for that same nickname. Kil's soulful production w/ vocal samples is a perfect backdrop for Vegas to kick his story.
His name was Ill Will, you might know him from Nas. I was the little homie right behind them guys.
Vegas uses his commanding voice and direct way with words to paint the scene.
Call it a man to be, though it was fun just rapping then, but I was feeling the vibes of what's happening. I mean birds start flying, people start dying, shit got real but your momma wasn't crying.
Vegas touches on the type of lifestyle his cousin Ill Will lead, how close he was to going down a similar path, as well as how Will's death affected him, his decisions, and opportunities.
The next interlude continues with Vegas diving into exactly what getting that nickname from Ill Will meant to him, while contemplating how Will managed to stay so fly.
This leads into the single Bench To The Turtle where Vegas breaks down Ill Will's hustle from the perspective of Will himself. The beat by Kil lends a cinematic feel to the track with an almost blaxploitation score quality to it, while Vegas gives us a day in the life of his cousin.
How would the current social media climate (and Nas stans) have treated Ill Will if he was still around? That's the premise of the next interlude. On Will Do Vegas gets deeper into the topic brought up on the interlude, asking how Will would handle it all.
Slave to your tweets, hungry for a mention. Until we pulling up with a different type of tension.
On the production tip Kil compliments his melodic piano sample and drum break with some classic Slick Rick vocals. Vegas tailors his flow and delivery as a perfect fit.
On Interlude 4, Vegas breaks down exactly what his purpose and aim was in crafting this album for Ill Will. Vegas uses The Hill as a means to describe the struggle for people in the hood, trying to climb out of their circumstances with very little resources. On this track Vegas shows special appreciation to his aunt & Ill Will's mother Versie.
It's been a long journey, but know that we are worthy, I dedicate this verse to Aunt Versie. She persevered through some dark days, and still raised your brother, deserved all praise.
For Vegas to get this personal and intimate about such subject matter is commendable. As fans we have to appreciate when emcees open up this way because its hard for many of us to do so, even without putting it out as art for the world to consume.
Vegas describes just how into Hip Hop Ill Will was on the next interlude, leading to the next song Impeach Vegas Pt. 2. On the track Kil hooks up another drum break with some classic vocal samples. Here Vegas is puffing out his chest on some rap sh*t, talking about the era he came up in and what sets him apart as an emcee. The beat switches through-out add some drama to the joint, also helping to emphasize some of Vegas' choice bars. Tying it in with the preceding skit, I believe this is the rhyme Vegas wrote to impress his cousin Ill Will.
Big homie hold me down from the skies above. We out here living Hip Hop call it a bug. Been afflicted for a minute I'm eternally sick wit it. Sicko mode...control trolls, I ain't lying. The louder they get, the more I kill 'em with silence.
The album wraps up with one more skit and the OG version of Impeach Vegas which is just as dope but with a different vibe.
Vegas and Kil show how dope their chemistry is on this EP. Vegas opens up about his cousin Ill Will with some sharp storytelling and personal rhymes. And on the production side Kil provides the perfect beats to make sure the message is well received.
Check out the album Will-matic on Bandcamp. All proceeds go to Vegas' Aunt Versie.
You can also support by copping the merch on Vegas' teepublic page