WateRR: Washed Ashore

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Photo courtesy of Marszflight

Gone are the days when rap music and its artists were confined by invisible regional constraints. The genre and its practitioners reach across state, country, and continental lines to further expand the world’s most popular music genre. Two artists that connected to collaborate on music stateside are Chicago emcee WateRR and Brooklyn, New York producer Wavy Da Ghawd. WateRR and Wavy joined forces for an album appropriately titled “Washed Ashore.”

Washed Ashore is produced entirely by Wavy Da Ghawd and comes to us courtesy of Crystallize Enterprise. The 15-track album features appearances by Eddie Kaine, Bub Styles, Passport Rav, Spoda, SUBSTANCE810, Bos Voe, and Rufus Sims.

WateRR spoke to The Real Hip-Hop about the Moorish Science Temple, gatekeepers in Hip-Hop, working with Wavy Da Ghawd, and their new album, Washed Ashore.

TRHH: How’d you link up with Wavy Da Ghawd to do Washed Ashore?

WateRR: So, me and Wavy Da Ghawd hooked up maybe back in 2019 or so. We did a single entitled “Shootouts.” To be honest with you, I tapped in with Wavy being a fan of music first. Of course, we all are, that’s how you come into the game. So, hearing him and some of his work with Rome Streetz and then I know you’re familiar with Ty Farris, I’m sure you are. We got that Bulls Vs Pistons project and Ty Farris is affiliated with The Walkers as well, which is a conglomerate of Wavy Da Ghawd, Rome Streetz – he kind of got another situation too with Bad Influenyce. But they got RIM, Eddie Kaine, Plex Diamonds, Spoda, The Standouts — I got a project coming with The Standouts as well. With me and Ty Farris doing that Bulls Vs Pistons album a lot of dots were connected.

Me and Wavy began to work — like I said, we did The Shootouts record that’s out on platforms right now. And then last year I put out an EP entitled “Truth & Falsehood Strangely Mixed.” That comes from a lesson in the Moorish Science teachings in regards to man and the duality. On that EP I had a couple tracks with Wavy Da Ghawd as well. We did “Pro Economics” and then we did “7th Floor.” From that point we just started building a record. I want to say it took a little over a year just with the distance, with me working with different producers, and him working with different artists. It took some time, but it came and we did about maybe 20/21/22 songs and we chopped it down to 15. I’ll tell you, the other six or seven that didn’t make the cut you will hear from them as well. It’s good music, it just didn’t fit this project. It took some time but it was purposeful and we got, in my opinion, some of my best work, most definitely.

TRHH: Who came up with the title for the album?

WateRR: I did. With him being Wavy Da Ghawd right, me being WateRR, and then just kind of meshing those two ideas and the two artists. Also, in today’s era of music it’s a lot of music coming out. A lot of people are backed up with the music that they get to hear. Some people probably haven’t even heard my project yet, and I’m sure of it. It may take another few months before they will — hopefully they do. The point is, with all this backed up music it allowed me to work. I like to juggle several projects at one time and I’m sure a lot of artists at our level kind of do the same thing.

It just just allowed us to kind of work at a nice pace and we was able to come out with some good music. With Washed Ashore you have WateRR and Wavy and it’s a lot of music out here and we’re coming to wash it all away. I don’t want to sound disrespectful, but at the same time, this is a sport what we do as emcees and artists in this particular genre of music called rap. This was founded on battle rap. It’s still a sport and it’s respect as well. We’re coming to wash everybody ashore, and state our claim, and make our name known in the game.

TRHH: I want to go back, you mentioned the Moorish Science Temple, how did you get involved with the Moorish Science Temple? Were your born into it?

WateRR: No, no, I had to find my way. I used to play football — I used to play running back at the University of Wisconsin in Madison for the Badgers. I played as a true freshman, true sophomore and then going into my junior year I had to stop playing due to a heart condition called HCM — hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. They call this a thickening of the heart, particularly in the left ventricle. You might hear about a lot of athletes passing out on the field and on the court dying from those symptoms or whatnot. This would stop me from playing ball, but the whole time I was doing music. The music actually was therapeutic for me during this time because I was good enough to go to the next level. I actually was going to leave after my junior year, but my path is my path, my journey is my journey.

I grew up Christian Baptist from the South. I’m from Chicago, but my family is from the South. In the world wind of not being able to do what I wanted to do anymore, and trying to figure things out it’s crazy that tragedy or trauma forces us to want to find the truth. Like why is this happening or what’s going on? And then you start to go within yourself or you may search for different answers. One thing that led me on the path was The Secret. This is around that time when The Secret came out and so then it’s like, okay, the law of the attraction, cool. It’s funny, Method Man had mentioned this in a line before Common said it, but on that Kanye album he had Common do a song called “My Way Home.” In that song he was like, “Behold A Pale/Horse got me trapped like R. Kell, I bail.”

So, then I’m looking at Behold A Pale Horse and I’m looking at that book. I’m the type of artist where it’s like I listen to the artist and then I try to do the same thing. They’ll drop a jewel and if I don’t know about it now I’m gonna look it up. I do the same thing in my music where I try to drop little tidbits here and there and gems for people to go pick up. Within that, going from Behold A Pale Horse from William Cooper and then this led me down that path of learning more about myself. Then I get into metaphysical teachings from Bobby Hemmitt, and Phil Valentine, and John Henrik Clark the historian. I’m learning more and more about myself and this led me to the path of Moorish Science teachings and Noble Drew Ali and understanding who we really are. You’ve got different teachers out here whether you claim Moorish Science or whether you claim a Hebrew Israelite. I also have Choctaw Cherokee in my family, so, whether you identify as a native of this land right here.

Now I’m coming into all of this knowledge and information and now I’m starting to gain more self-awareness. I’m just taking you down that path a little bit. One of my close friends had joined the temple out there in California and one thing you find, just like in our community it’s a lot of branching off. Even within the Moorish Science it’s not all the way united like that. It’s division within the Moorish Science teachings. After Noble Drew Ali died some went one way, others went the other way. With all of that confusion I’ve never joined the temple, but it’s understood that if you know who you are then you claim that. I’m more so into the teachings. I’m into gaining knowledge from the Gnostics, from the Vedas — some Indian culture, ancient teachings and looking into ancient scripts and tablets. I’m into gaining knowledge from all sources that I can and Moorish Science is one that I definitely latched onto, as well as other teachings as well. Me being from Chicago and it’s a real history here, even with the Nation of Islam. So, it’s some deep roots here. I said all that to just kind of take you down that path to what led me there.

TRHH: You have a song called “Gatekeepers” where you say you don’t fuck with gatekeepers. Who are the gatekeepers you are referring to in that song?

WateRR: Well, it’s a lot of people and I wanna make sure I’m wording this correctly, it’s a lot of people in positions of power. When I say positions of power, meaning where they can open doors or close doors on people that are let in or allowed to evolve musically, or reach next the next level musically. A lot of this thing here that that we do, and I’m sure you found it the same way and I’m sure you heard these stories too, because I’ve heard it, where you get into music and you thinking it’s about the skill and the talent, and it is to a degree, but mainly it’s politics. It’s politics with this, it’s who you know, who you rub shoulders with, who you’re cool with. Within that the game get a little muddy — it gets a little fishy to where it’s not just about the real music anymore.

I remember in the time before social media when you didn’t really have access to artists. You wasn’t really caring about what that artist was particularly doing in their personal life, you just cared about the music and what they was providing and you wanted to keep that coming. Times have changed, whether it’s for good or bad, it’s changed and you just gotta move along with it. I’m just addressing those people who are in positions of the writers, or the bloggers who tend to only promote the same artists or a certain type of artist. I’m sure you noticed in the game even, not even just the journalist but even the label heads, the people who are signing deals with people. It’s like now all of a sudden you got to be gang banging, or drilling, or it gotta be murder, murder for you do be at a certain height. We know through the J. Cole’s and the Kendrick’s and the others that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make real genuine music from the heart.

There’s a lot of people that I’m pointing the finger at in regards to being a gatekeeper, and even with the Katt Williams thing that came out — nothing new that we haven’t heard before, but just with that understanding of if you do certain things your career can advance, if you don’t then you might get the door shut on you. So, even in that regard, too. I’m talking to all the gatekeepers. I don’t rock with them. I just threw a show on February 10th right here in Chicago and it was a great success. We was over capacity up in there. I’m not a promoter but I curated the show. I had put some hosts together, I brought some of the best artists in Chicago. It was a great night and then doing that it shows that we can take the reins, we could control the wheel, we can be in control. We know the resources, we have the resources, we have the know-how, and we can bring those tools together to do what we want to do and get to those points that we need to get to. Nowadays you could use it to your advantage with the social media thing. You don’t necessarily need those gatekeepers anymore. You could regain control of your career and what you want to do if you’ve got the right people around you.

TRHH: You have a song on the album with Rufus Sims called “Du Sable” and I’ve seen you, Sims, Vic Spencer, IAMGAWD, and other Chicago emcees having sort of a meeting of the minds, doing cyphers, and you mentioned the show you did together at Sub-T. What were these meetings like and what can you say about the current unity in Chicago Hip-Hop?

WateRR: Absolutely, so yeah in regards to that cypher that was another one — I curated that. What it’s about is about respect for each other and the craft, knowing where we are within this thing that we do, and trying to get over the hump so we all can make it and make a living off of this. Chicago, we haven’t really united artistically like other cities have, whether that’s New York, Atlanta, New Orleans. A lot of the industry in general they watching Chicago. They’ll take our lingo. We’ll borrow lingo as well, we’ve done it, right?

They’re watching Chicago, so it’s like just understanding the power that we have to unite, and move, and do our things individually, but to still kind of move as a unit so we all can get over that hump. It’s about uniting and once they see that we’re all connected and we rocking with each other then people are gonna come. And they’re gonna start digging like gold miners. Once they grab one they gonna come get the next, they gonna come for the next. That’s what it’s about, just showing that unity, showing people that we do respect each other, and that we have a lot of talent here that needs to be displayed.

TRHH: On the song “Where Would I Be” you ask where would you be without music; where would you be without Hip-Hop?

WateRR: Like I told you, when I had to stop playing ball the music helped save me. I remember growing up my stepdad he would tell me, “You’re not a football player, you are young man that plays football.” He was trying to instill in me that there’s more to you than football because I told you, at that time that’s what I did — that was life for me. Anybody that plays sports at that level, to that degree, you would think that you was born for this. I’m sure LeBron James and Michael Jordan think “Man, I was born to play basketball.” It’s like, no, that’s not necessarily true. You have the skill and the talent to do it and be great at it, but you wasn’t born just for that. I’m sure LeBron has touched other people’s lives, whether it’s the school or other things, outside of the sport that we don’t know about. So, it’s things like that, that you were skilled in this to bring greatness or benefit others in your life as well.

So, in that regard the music saved me from when I couldn’t play ball. So much so that it’s therapeutic, because it’s been several times in my life, definitely when I couldn’t play ball, I was in depression. To where I was asking like, “Why am I alive? Why am I still here? I don’t really wanna be here anymore.” The music helped bring certain things into focus. I have a beautiful and a great family around me. I have a daughter now, she’ll be six this year, I got a beautiful lady. I’m sure that I would be alive and well, but exactly what would I be doing I don’t know. I know I’m a leader — I’ve demonstrated that. If you know me then you understand that.

It’s the passion, right? You want to do things that you have a passion about. If you listen to my music you understand that I’m giving you certain messages as well, and so this is not just something where I’m just having fun, it’s also purposeful. It gives me an avenue to talk to people. Where would I be without the music? It’s a hard answer right there, because the music has benefited me therapeutically, mentally. I don’t want to say I’d be lost because I got the almighty in me, I got the family with me, and so I’m sure I’ll be doing something. What that would be, I really couldn’t tell you. Thankfully I have the music and I’m doing that.

TRHH: What do you hope to achieve with Washed Ashore?

WateRR: I hope to achieve more listeners, a bigger following, and just to raise my status within the game. Like I said, I feel like this is some of my best work. I will put it in the top two-three of everything I’ve done, easily. With that, the respect and acknowledgement of my craft, and that’s all I can ask for. And more doors to open that can lead to bigger and better things and more opportunities, absolutely.

Purchase: WateRR & Wavy Da Ghawd – Washed Ashore

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About Sherron Shabazz

Sherron Shabazz is a freelance writer with an intense passion for Hip-Hop culture. Sherron is your quintessential Hip-Hop snob, seeking to advance the future of the culture while fondly remembering its past.
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