‘The Obituary’ is the latest full-length album from William Pippins
With fantastic mellow vibes throughout, ear-catching saxophone, high-quality lyricism, and a knack for simple yet effective choruses, this project is surely a work of art.
We’ll See (Intro) – “We’ll See” does everything that an intro track should do. A speaking segment leads into a soulful beat, which in turn bleeds into a jazz instrumental, setting the tone for the album and tickling my ears to want more. The mellow vibes and quality lyricism have me anticipating more and I can’t wait to get into the rest of the project.
Understand? – William Pippins contemplates the problems of a world that’s “like a new Egypt in a land that’s missing pyramids,” frequently returning to the motif of “you understand?” The conversational sound of the artist’s voice combined with the simplicity of the beat makes me feel like I’m leaning in close to have a one-on-one conversation.“I intend to save a man from himself – the greatest gift you give to people is the wisdom that you held.”
Like Stars feat. Li and Image – “I see stars … lost inside the stars…”
Like so many other tracks on this project, “Like Stars” is almost like multiple songs united in a common theme. Soulful crooning bleeds into contemplative boom bap tones. Pippins recruited singers Li and Image to add some extra sauce to the mix. “Like stars in the sky … when will we fall down?”
Still Voice feat. Will Kellum – “I been asking questions like a wisdomless boy … but imma be alright as long as I hear the Voice.” The progression of the album is interrupted by beeping of an alarm clock as William Pippins and Will Kellum launch into a groovy track recounting their reliance on God and that “still, small voice” in their lives. Top-notch verses and a catchy hook come together to make this song a hit.
Affirmation – Continuing with the jazzy instrumentals, Pippins rides the beat for some time before reflecting on his relationship and the importance of affirmation. A combo of smooth bass, guitar, and crooning vocals makes this song a solid one to vibe to. “If I know one thing … I know you love me … so, tell me you love me.”
Memory Lane – “Memory Lane” breaks out the piano as William Pippins walks us through some of his past and present struggles. The track ends on the hopeful note of how God has redeemed his story. This song is a short and sweet and almost acts as an interlude.
Do Better feat. King Silxs – “Do better in due time and we gon’ get it right”
A minimalistic, keys-driven instrumental allows for William Pippins and King Silxs to drop some real wisdom on the track in true hip-hop fashion. Both emcees kill their verses while giving listeners some solid life advice. “Don’t be stressed about what you can’t control – maybe tribulation is turning us into gold.”
The Wave – Here, Pippins relates the impact of a message from a fan about his struggles and how meaningful Pippins’ work has been to him. The rapper lets the beat ride for some time, giving us occasion to pause and reflect. The track ends with a spoken word, inspiring further reflection. For once, the chorus doesn’t really do it for me, and this song fades into the rest of the album without really standing out.
The Beauty – This might be the most feel-good song in an album full of feel-good songs. The first part of the song finds Pippins reflecting on the beauty of life. “The flipside of the story is the backside of His glory so it’s two sides of a coin.” “It’s beautiful to me.” The beat switches, and now Pippins is relating some of his aspirations: “I wanna go to Paris, I wanna be free. I wanna see the sunlight, I wanna see the sea. I wanna be loved and I wanna be me.” Once again, the beat switches, this time slowing down, and the song slowly fades out.
God’s Will – Demo feat. Demo Freeman – As you might expect from a song with “demo” in the title, “God’s Will – Demo” is a very laid-back, low key track with a minimalistic flair. The emcee effortlessly navigates multiple beats, keeping listeners interested and engaged.
Yesterday – Atmosphere. That’s something that William Pippins is very good at, and nowhere is that more clear than on “Yesterday.” The emcee continues to expound upon his past on another oh-so-chill track.
The Burials – “Everything changes, nothing ever stays the same. Trying to keep my head up in this rain.” A crack of thunder alerts us to the serious tone of this song. On “The Burials,” Pippins really dives headlong into the ghosts of his past, holding nothing back and providing listeners with a clear window into his life.
The War? – After the low point of “The Burials,” William Pippins wraps up the project with a hopeful tone, pointing to Jesus and offering final reflections on some of the topics addressed throughout the album. “Who are you? And who am I? I don’t know, but I know the One who knows – Jesus.” Finally, Pippins finishes out the album over a funk-ish instrumental that feels almost like an end credits song.
This project is fantastic from front to back and I know I’ll be listening to it more in the future. Pippins had me hooked from the intro and almost every song ended up saved or on one of my personal playlists. I found very few points that I think could have been improved, and The Obituary is easily one of my favorite projects that I’ve reviewed.
My favorite tracks:
1. We’ll See (Intro)
2. Still Voice
3. The Beauty