Willie The Kid and Bronze Nazareth both originate from Grand Rapids, MI, and both represent the worldwide Wu-born swarm that is the Killa Beez, but their flight paths to this point are very divergent. While Willie The Kid’s older brother, La The Darkman, was among the first official Wu affiliates outside of New York State, after the release of his classic debut, Heist of the Century, he rose to greater heights not through his ongoing wufilliation, but by becoming DJ Drama’s go-to guest rapper, contributing verses to mixtapes by everyone from Lil Wayne to Gucci Mane. Along the way, La brought his younger brother Willie The Kid into the fold. Therefore, though originally inspired to rhyme by the verbal darts of La and the Wu, Willie came up in the mixtape circuit. Until recently, his craft was a reflection of that, which is not to say he wasn’t nice — he just wasn’t given the platform or the beats to do his dirtiest on until he got with the likes of Alchemist, with whom he released the Masterpiece Theatre EP last year.
Before Bronze Nazareth gained the attention, respect and endorsement of the Wu, he too got started rapping alongside his brother; in this case, the brother was Kevlaar 7, with whom he formed the group The Unknown. Their only album, 2000’s Death’s Birth: The Grip of Behemoths, showcased the two brothers (then known as Half Entity and 50/50, respectively) spitting spoken word-style think pieces over Half Entity’s cinematic, if off-kilter, production, which had not yet fully embraced “the Wu sound.” That evolution would occur after Half Entity met Moroccan wuffiliate Cilvaringz, who has the honor of being the first international Killa Bee. It was Cilvaringz who would crown Half Entity Bronze Nazareth and who would introduce Bronze to 4th Disciple, Killarmy, Sunz of Man, and eventually, RZA himself. From there, Bronze contributed beats to dozens of Wu projects and released several acclaimed solo mixtapes and albums, including Thought for Food Vol. 1-2 and 2006’s The Great Migration. That album’s follow-up, 2011’s School For The Blindmen, was marred by poor mastering and failed to live up to its legacy, but Bronze rebounded two years later with The Blenders EP on Man Bites Dog Records, and it was on this EP, on the song “Malcolm X Manuscripts,” that we first heard Willie The Kid over a Bronze Nazareth beat.
The chemistry between the two was immediately evident, so a full-length collaboration was almost inevitable. Well, it’s here now, with Bronze smartly keeping himself behind the boards this time. There is no denying the emotional depths that Bronze has dug from “Sinuhe’s Impasse” to “The Pain” to “Coming From” (which features his only verse on The Living Daylights), but this strength is not necessarily as easily sold as Willie The Kid’s scholarly gusto. Bronze’s always-infectious production, though, provides the perfect soulful complement to The Kid’s royal gospel. Find out for yourself by streaming The Living Daylights below or purchasing it via iTunes.
• Willie The Kid: http://www.datpiff.com/mixtapes-search.php?criteria=keyword:+willie+the+kid
• Bronze Nazareth: http://bronzenazareth.com