Mike Wird has been a cornerstone figure in the Denver hip-hop scene for more than a decade, collaborating in projects such as the 900 Pound Gorilla project and the Denver Avengers. Wird’s recent release Afronaut Vol. 1 is more of a community art project that features some wonderfully talented contributors than an independently distributed album.
Afronaut Vol 1. delivers high level, consistent production from some of Colorado’s most talented producers and DJs, as well as production and mixing by Wird himself. The outcome is a musical journey through smooth samples and timely cuts that reek of a classic hip-hop manifesto a la De La Soul or A Tribe Called Quest.
The album is well-balanced. While a mellow and uplifting song like “Coming Forth by Day” massages the listener with DJ Cavem Moetavation’s tribal drum patterns, songs like “Memory” and “So Close” bring the listener back to the basic elements of hip-hop with DJ Cyskco Rockwell’s scratching, cutting and magnificent delivery.
“Each song has a unique enjoyment that wouldn’t have been the same without everyone who was involved,” said Wird of the large group of collaborators.
The appearance of superb songstress Venus Cruz on the track “Denva City” is the album’s most interesting and shining song— here Wird gives listeners his perception of life in Denver. Venus does not sing in her usual soothing tone, but with more of a Marsha Ambrosia style of delivery, suiting the track’s dark vibe.
Once past the incredible sounds of the album, Wird’s rhyme content clearly stands out, representing Colorado’s intelligent community with educating and thought-provoking lines.
Although the album does lack anything remotely radio-friendly or ringtone-saleable, the album is a genuine piece of fine art crafted by a collection of fine artists. Even Guerilla Garden’s Jeremy “Jolt” Ulibarri added to the project, designing the astronaut on the cover.
Wird is already working on Vol. 2 of the series as well as working on collaborations with the 2kool clothing line.
Check out the album at www.mikewird.bandcamp.com