That may sound like bleak subject matter, but Raw goes for inspiration as he speaks directly to the Black Community of Wilmington and beyond to Rise Up, Don’t Let Them Take Your Crown, and Shine Yo Light, three melodic tracks that lead into the Afrocentric Chaka Zulu then on to the reggae beat of Word Warrior, featuring Jahiti of BrownFish. True to its name, the title track uses words and rhyme to spread his message of empowerment.
Word Warrior isn’t all about activism; about midway though, it shifts with Cool, followed by what should have been the hit of the summer, At the BBQ featuring Ann Letreece. It’s a celebration of Black culture and community (and, of course, food). Ain’t Nothing Like a Woman is all about respect and love, while Watch Your Health is a hip-hop PSA that reminds folks to eat healthy while still managing to groove. While the topics on the back end are less political, they still focus on the Black experience: Close-knit communities, faith, family, music, and culture.
Raw knows the history of those that came before him, both as a musician and an activist, and he weaves them into the stories he tells with humility. There’s no posturing, no glitz, no hype. In a time when using words against the status quo can be downright dangerous, Raw really is a warrior.