Bill Niels is a Pittsburgh legend around the underground rap scene, working with Mac Miller and the Most Dope crew as far back as Mac goes, building his own clothing brand, “Daily Bread” up to a global status, and continuing to do live shows as Bill Waves still shows a shining hope for the future of entertainment in the Steel City. Waves, Niels, Bill, whatever you call him, people show respect to his name as a wordsmith that has some immaculate styling’s; someone that can rock the microphone and shake the stage too. He moves into the spotlight with his latest project Barbecues & Blues; taking the veil of mystery off for only a moment, before dashing back to the damp alleys and shadows of Pittsburgh.
Niels cuts his teeth with the opening track, “Point Breeze (Prod. By: Thrty) where Bill navigates through a lo-fi situation of production. Niels is hazy on Barbecues & Blues, appearing almost behind a cloud of smoke as he describes, “I am not smiling till I level my head, I got blessed, God’s child but the devil’s my friend”. There is a constant level of coasting behind Bill’s always adapting style and the way that he presents himself is such a raw and natural level of emotion. He does not play with himself or the audience, pulling them along in a list of fake or fictional stories; Bill Waves is one of the realest artists in his craft and gives a window, wide-eyed look into who he is. On following tracks, “Graphite (feat. Fam Ross, Prod. By: SLR)”, Bill moves in a similar fashion that illustrates his strength to tell a story and to entertain as well as teach. The production by SLR uses filtered guitars and rattling hi-hats that vary to create an approachable, but head-bobbing instrumental that works significantly well with Waves’ and Ross’s verses. The two act as a dynamic-duo of classy, but calloused rhymers of practical real life supervillains.
But there are moments on Barbecues & Blues where Bill takes the record in a completely different direction, almost nose-diving toward the opposite lanes with “Blue (feat. Tommy, Prod. By: Young Bicycle) and “Moms Pain” where Niels is more wide awake than ever. His conscious attempts to reflect on his personal moments, like the very shadowed track “Blue” where Tommy acts as a beautiful seamstress, stitching together the ugliness of Bill’s often times rough-spoken dialogue between himself. Tommy who is another Pittsburgh artist has worked with Bill previously, but on Barbecues & Blues; Tommy is a siren that lures the listener away from the crashing waves of Bill’s inner psyche. She is a wonderful tool in Bill’s inventory to create a duality within his music and the following track, “Moms Pain” is similar as well.
Depressed, drowned, but also reminiscing about the past times where Bill Waves explains on his hook/re-phrase, “I just wanna be rich, see from the other side. All I need’s a dollar for every time my mother cried”. The emotional status that Bill reaches into and extracts is sullen, but the change of tone is welcome and is necessary in order to make his livelier tracks stand out as larger pieces of the puzzle. Bill Waves is an enigma, hidden behind his quick-wits and Golden-Age Boom-Bap styled production is a truly creative visionary that built his own path by himself. It’s apparent that Waves can tell a heartwarming story and switch it up just as quick and tell some truth behind his words.
The world is lucky to be graced by someone that is not afraid to put themselves out there, someone that manages to illustrate a great and overbearing sense of pain behind his words; continuing on and inspiring the youth of today with his message. The world is lucky to have a person like Bill Waves, a fresh MC with a lot to give to most, a new mind with new ideas to many, and someone that would be called a friend by all.
TICKET TO MMM’s MUSICAL EXHIBITION PT. III
Featuring: Javed // LiveFromTheCity // Bill Waves