Orlando Emcee Wahid Makes His Innovative Leisure Debut With ‘WILT/CORNERSTONE’

Wahid standing in a field in front of tall buildings
After the dissolution of See You Soon, the nine-person hip-hop collective he cofounded, Wahid has released his debut solo EP for Innovative Leisure | Cody Salas, courtesy of the artist (cropped)

Allow Wahid to reintroduce himself: The Orlando-born and -based rapper with Jamaican roots, a rapid-fire flow, and a subtly reggae and dancehall-influenced sound has shared WILT/CORNERSTONE, his two-track debut EP on eclectic Los Angeles-based indie label Innovative Leisure.

The record might as well be the first flaps of a phoenix’s wings, which brings us to the ashes: Wahid co-founded nine-person hip-hop collective See You Soon in 2020, and after the group’s first national tour alongside the band 99 Neighbors, they were poised for a major-label deal and global superstardom—until their would-be breakthrough went up in smoke, with the dreaded “creative differences” disintegrating the group. Down but not out, Wahid went solo, eventually linking up with Innovative Leisure.

The first of his new EP’s two tracks is “WILT,” which was first released in mid-September. Produced by Kaelin Ellis and BAD ONE (aka Iggy Scannone), the song’s barebones instrumental impacts the eardrums with its staccato keys and bass hits—meanwhile, Wahid’s raps skitter nimbly across the beat, punctuated by ghostly ad-libs. The emcee crams days of slick braggadocio into under two minutes, putting a “hunnid on it like Wilt, old pair of Nikes on the concrete.”

The EP’s other track, the brand new “CORNERSTONE,” also produced by Ellis, first finds Wahid flexing his (albeit autotuned) pipes, building tension before it opens onto a swaggering, clubbed-up beat and the artist’s deft modulation of raps and singing. It’s impressive how seamlessly Wahid toggles his delivery between a lyrically dense rasp and feathery melodies, as if in an effort to show new listeners the breadth of his artistry. Though brief, WILT/CORNERSTONE feels designed to whet your appetite for more Wahid.

Wahid said of his EP’s two tracks in a statement: “’WILT’ is a record conceived after I drank a cheap bottle of Stroysky liquor in the studio with Kaelin and Iggy. I wanted to emulate carefree vibes on Isaiah Rashad’s ‘House is Burning’ album. With a lot of Damian Marley playing through the studio speakers, ‘CORNERSTONE’ is a direct inspiration from a song his father wrote (Bob Marley’s Cornerstone; 1970), which is one of my all time favorite songs. Meek shall inherit the earth, last shall be first.”

You can stream WILT/CORNERSTONE here and/or buy the EP on Bandcamp. A press release teases more music on the way from Wahid.

More New Music

You can hear new tracks from Wahid, and music from local, regional, national and international artists on our music discovery station The Independent 89.9 HD4. And you can follow our Fresh Squeeze playlist on Spotify to stream all the best new music, updated every month.

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