Rapper Willard The Pillard released his latest album, Off The Grid, earlier this month, on October 13th. Off The Grid is a 28 minute long project, composed of 11 hip-hop and rap songs.
Off the Grid opens with the introduction of 'Reminiscing.' This 3-minute long song gives a summary of the rest of the project to follow. 'Reminiscing' talks about the start to Willard The Pillard's spiral into depression--his failed relationship, violence, the stresses of growing up as he sings, and his attempt to hide it all under a pursuit of money. He says "use me, influence me, the diamonds and the gold keep abusing me." In an interview with SiKK Magazine, Willard The Pillard explained "It’s ironic because this was actually the last song I recorded. It’s my favorite because it’s the first song I ever produced completely by myself. Also, the song is kind of a summary of all my thoughts while going through depression. Tough relationship, police brutality, basic college troubles of providing for yourself and the fear of disappointing your parents.”
The next song, 'Leo,' brings listeners further into Willard The Pillard's mind as he struggles to find his passion, and his failed attempts of trying to find joy through other people and failed relationships--"Bought a chain for you with my first and last initial. I was loyal to you when this shit was inhibition. I'm on the way way to you, I heard a song on the radio, learning connecting is the way to go, your love won't save me though."
In fact, the entire project is really an insight into Willard The Pillard's own tiresome pursuit of happiness. He explained “When I made the project, I was actually working through clinical depression. When you’re clinically depressed, you’re in a really drained state of mind and you don’t want to do anything. I was trying to create something that would give keep me going, something I could get upend look forward to every day. Something to focus on and keep me out of my head. It was really just therapeutic.”
However, Willard The Pillard says that even though these songs deal with rough moments in his life, the whole project is meant to serve as an anthem for victory. By the last song on Off the Grid, Willard The Pillard goes from wallowing in his own sadness to reclaiming his truth and confidence through 'Wild Willard.' He raps "Willar the Pillard ball on these n*ggas like Damien Willard...Rather be rich with no fame than a broke n*gga that got a name."
When saying how the creation of this project made him feel, Willard The Pillard responded "It's a victory story. I'm really proud of how far I have come from that dark place."
We would rate this project an 8/10. Willard The Pillard is able to be vulnerable on the track while spreading awareness about the importance of mental health, which is something a lot of rappers do not feel comfortable doing. More so, his choice of beats from purely hip-hop to more afro-pop show that Willard The Pillard is able to hold his flow on a lot of varying sounds.
You can stream Willard The Pillard's Off The Grid on Apple Music.