%image_alt%Wizard is probably as prolific as any producer in the country. That Work may be only his second solo album, but that ignores various projects with KidEight & Scizzahz, a large number of instrumental releases and regular production for a whole host of MCs up and down the country. With this release he aims to prove that he is also as versatile as any of the competition.

No MC manages to feature on more than a single track on this album. This is often a drawback for producer albums, as the sheer amount, and variety, of different voices and styles prevent a cohesive theme or sound from emerging. That proves to be the case here as well, particularly as Wizard seems keen to change production style almost as frequently as guest vocalist.

Not that the album is without it’s highlights though. Sonnyjim, who hardly ever spits a weak verse, brings his A-game on 99%. Jack Flash shows that even when in cruise control, and working with fairly uninspired subject matter, he is more engaging than most. Both the production on this, and Thabo’s ever soulful crooning, would genuinely not feel out of place alongside any chart-destined smooth Hip-Hop/RnB track of recent vintage. The IRS also show up, to round the album off nicely, with Cold City. However, probably the highlight for me is delivered by one of the least heralded guests. The highly underrated Truth brings the album’s most insightful lyrical performance on These Times.

The other side of the pond is also well represented here. Wizard provides some crunching electric guitars for Thesaurus Rex to drop punchlines over, on album opener WWF, and Little Brother affiliate Joe Scudda warns people to keep their hands out of his pockets on Playing With Me. However, one of Wizard’s biggest miss steps here is the remix to Ill Bill’s Remove The Gag. The lightweight drums on this synth-driven track give a rather bland backdrop for probably the 3 highest profile guests on the album (Ill Bill, Wordsworth & Verbal Kent). Another below-par effort is the highly generic R&B stylings of Carlos Montana & Joey G-Zus on Lay You Down.

Overall this album doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor, due to a dip in the overall consistency of both the beats, and the guest verses. It is also affected by the curse of producer-led albums, having a “compilation feel”, as the variety in guests prevent the project from finding a sound of its own. Whether or not it’s actually the case, it makes you feel as the listener that Wizard simply threw 17 of his most recent tracks together, rather than setting out from scratch to come up with a cohesive album. That Work works better as a shop window for Wizard’s production, showing that his range has expanded over the last couple of years, and anyone looking for beats can go to him for more than just underground bangers.

Available to buy digitally from http://wizardbeats.bandcamp.com/

Originally posted on www.certifiedbanger.co.uk


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