Denzel Spencer, more commonly known as Roy Wood$, is a 20 year old Canadian singer/rapper/songwriter from Brampton, Ontario, Canada. Signed to Octobers Very Own (OVO) in 2015, Wood$ crashed the rap scene impressively with his debut hit “Drama” featuring Drake. He dropped his debut project titled Exis, July 31, 2015, and raised eyebrows with hit singles like “Get you Good” and “Jealousy”. Almost exactly a year later, Roy Wood$ dropped this highly anticipated album Waking at Dawn, blessing his dedicated fans around the world. After listening to the album multiple times, I believe that Roy fans will love it, but new listeners may have difficulty adjusting to his sound. Waking at Dawn is authentic Roy Wood$ brand and sound. Only containing 10 songs, the album is short but fluid all the way through. Even though he is relatively new to the rap scene, I have to give him his props for not switching up on his style. This album has a comparable feel to his Exis EP. Light background vocals, deep drums, and melodic beats are consistent throughout this album. Each song contains the young artist singing, coupled with smooth bars that set the tone. Overall the album focuses around relationships that the rapper/singer seemed to have encountered. The album contains zero featured artists.
The album begins with “Sonic Boom” a spacey track that details Wood$ involvement with a cold-hearted girl. A strong introduction to the album that sets the mood for the rest of the musical experience. Followed by “You Love It”, a much more up tempo track that continues to address relationship issues, Roy references “Drama” saying that the girl he is rapping about has “a little bit of drama with her man”. “Gwan Big up Urself”, the third song, dabbles into the newly mainstream dancehall category. Speaking Jamaican Patois throughout the song, Roy taps into his roots for an island smash. Roy Wood$ released “Gwan Big up Urself” along with the next track, “How I Feel” as singles for the album the first week of June. Both are standout songs on the album that will be immediate fan favorites. “How I Feel” may be his best all-around song on the album lyrically and production wise. “Down Girl” is a song that could be easily skipped over, but I strongly believe that this track is a hidden gym. I can see this song being successful on the radio over the summer. Roy lists one of his biggest musical influences as Michael Jackson and you I can hear a vocal resemblance in the chorus of “Down Girl”. Staying true to the Toronto sound, “Switch” and “Why” were produced by Murda Beatz, a Canadian producer who works closely with Migos, PartyNextDoor, and many other successful artists. In “Switch”, Wood$ addresses his frustrations with people who only came into his life because of his newly found fame. “Why” was released on OVO Radio episode 23. Both tracks “Why” and “Got Me” focus on relationship issues and not being able to be away from his girl. “Menace”, my personal favorite track on the album, talks about Roy not wanting to be responsible for corrupting a girls mind and being apologetic for it. The instrumental sounds like something his OVO teammate PartyNextDoor would rap and sing over. The producers of this song actually reached out to me through twitter; Omari Jabari (@justcontrast) and Rashad (Rashad416). “She knows about me and I know about her”. The final song on the album is titled “She Knows Me”, which slows down the tempo and brings the project to an appropriate conclusion.
OVO artists never do wrong when it comes to production. Songs like “How I Feel”, “Switch”, and “Menace” have intricate beats that create genuine playback value. This album is perfect for driving around at nighttime or chilling with your squad. Wood$ is only 20 years old and already has two projects under OVO. I am very interested in seeing the critical reception and how fans perceive the album. The lyrics are intensely relatable, which is a big reason why I think Roy Wood$ has a ton of upside. This album as an entity comes together quite story-like and remains consistent compositionally. Although announcing his album release date just a few days ago, I am hopeful that the album will do well on the charts. I was looking forward to potential collaborations with Majid Jordan and PartyNextDoor but I guess that can wait. Roy Wood$ is accompanying Drake and Future on the Summer Sixteen North American Tour. Go check out his album on Apple Music and Spotify, and share your comments and critiques below.
Waking at Dawn Album scores8
Composition score 8
Production score 9
Lyrics score 7