By JD Brant
“WRD-POP” is a style of music originating in Miami Gardens, FL, coined after the southeast fusion hip hop/electrofunk group WRDFRNDZ. Infused with smooth R&B tones, guitar shreds, and boss beat manipulation, #WRDFRNDZ, the self-titled album premiering today, is the colorful creation of singer/songwriter Frankie Midnight, who wrote, composed, produced, and engineered all of the tracks on the album.
#WRDFRNDZ unravels like a storybook for an adult version of an imaginary land like Sesame Street. Instrumentals and vocals are less intense than those contained in Chance the Rapper’s 2013 mixtape Acid Rap and 2016’s Coloring Book, but there are aesthetic similarities for sure. “5 AM” features the silky poetic goodness of Miami-born poet Tatiana Symone, who together with Frankie, speak on the fickleness of adult friendships and revenge bedtime procrastination. This psychological phenomenon is common in artists, who hang up their Dickies at the end of a 9 to 5, ready to get the time they’ve lost back.
“Coffee & Chill” is a pop-punky love letter to caffeine and addiction. Most of the world can relate to the ritual of sipping on some steamy before dressing and shuffling toward the front door. “The Floor” is a musical interpretation of the after-effects of drinking too much caffeine, a track that straightens out the nervous shakes and moves us along our day. “Surreal Dreams” takes the form of a voicemail, which we hear soundbites of earlier on in the album, and transitions into a monologue by an overthinker. The wobbly, Thundercat-mimicking bass on “Top Down,” the last track on #WRDFRNDZ, helps create a memorable send-off for listeners.
There’s never a dull moment on the album. Chops, slaps, and sprinklings of 70s, 80s funk traps lighten the mood and spice up the flavor. While the rest of the music world competes to shove as many streams as they can in two minutes, WRDFRNDZ (other members include Beary Fuzz, Venus Vu’ Sen, and Quiana Major) has stuck to music production that is remarkably brave and catchy.
Listen to #WRDFRNDZ here: