Showing posts with label Word Warrior. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Word Warrior. Show all posts

Monday, August 22, 2016

CD Review: Richard Raw's "Word Warrior"

The opening track of artist and activist Richard Raw’s Word Warrior, called Intro: R.A.P, is a short and detailed history of rap, from Melle Mel to now. It’s a fitting intro, as Raw represents the now in every way --he speaks on racial injustice and the current climate of discord as Black Americans are once again standing up to systemic racism.

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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Richard Raw Ends Inaugural Week of Music & Community with CD Release Party at Queen

By Guest Blogger, Ken Grant
Ken Grant has worked in Delaware media, politics and marketing for 25 years. He and his Lovely Bride enjoy Wilmington's arts and culture scene as much as they can.

Richard Raw makes it clear, hip-hop is still in its formative years – it is still a young art form, and those who are involved need to change the some of the stereotypes associated with it.
The first stereotype is that hip-hop artists are only out for themselves – whether it’s a matter of proudly proclaiming (in song) how great the artist is or denying any outside help or influence in the business.

At the June 11 Richard Raw CD Release Concert for his new album, Word Warrior, at World CafĂ© Live at the Queen, Richard and his team of musicians, singers and friends went out of their way to credit those who have gone before and to pave the way for the next generation of artists. In song, word and action, Richard showed the audience that he benefited from parents, mentors and other artists who made sure he was successful both as a musician and as a human being.

Richard also showcased the talents of other singers throughout the evening. Maya Belardo, Ladyy Defined, Aziza Nailah and Ann Letreece each had time at center stage to share their voices with the audience.
The second stereotype Richard Raw is out to change is the misogynist message some in hip-hop have been parroting.

Between inviting his mother to sit in front of the audience while he sang A Song For Mama and inviting all of the men in the audience to come forward and join him in singing Ain’t Nothing Like a Woman to all of the women in the audience and preaching about the importance of showing respect to the women in our lives, Richard made it clear that he expects hip-hop to change for the better.

The entire show was marked with high energy and a sense of purpose – with themes ranging from reclaiming a proud heritage to dealing with oppression in the workplace to advocating for healthy diets and lifestyles.

With the recent passing of Muhammad Ali, there was little doubt about the song Richard would offer as an encore, once again with words of appreciation to a role model.

By the end of the experience, it’s clear that Richard Raw takes the title of Word Warrior seriously – and he’s ready to use every tool at his disposal to fight for his art, for his community, and for the young artists following in his footsteps.

Set List:
Fela Kuti - Lady
Runaway Slave
Rise Up "Part 2"
How We Get So Low/Solo
Lose My Religion
Diamond (by Maya Belardo)
Say Yes (by Ladyy Defined)
On and On (by Aziza)
Shaka Zulu
Watch Your Health
Don't Let Them Take Your Crown
At The BBQ
Let's Groove
Ain't Nothing Like A Woman
I'm Every Woman (by Ann Letreece)
A Song For Mama
Shine Yo Light
Muhammad Ali