So far, there hasn’t been too many artists I’ve found in 2019 that I have thought to myself, “oh shit, they’re next”. I have found tons of artists with crazy good potential (hopefully interviewing and reviewing many of them soon) but no one like Rod Wave. This 19-year-old out of St. Petersburg is exactly that though. High skill and high potential. He has two other albums out on streaming aside from this one, Hungar Games 3 and Hungar Games 2. However, his newest project PTSD is by far my favorite. Rod Wave’s talents ooze out of every song and make you want to sing along on every chorus.
Before you say “woah this kid sounds like Kevin Gates”…stop. He doesn’t like that according to an interview he had with XXL. Honestly, I see it and don’t see it. Rod Wave just sounds unique to me. He can go from this really gruff, beefy sounding rap to pretty solid singing. It’s impressive and the last thing you would expect from a dude with this kind of rapping style. This shows in his melodies throughout the project, my favorite of which come on “Paint the Sky Red”. And while he is definitely his own man, you can hear a lot of the influence he gets being a rapper in the south. Florida seems to always create its own sound, drumming to their own beat while hinting at the sounds coming out of Atlanta. Rod Wave seems to be following in similar footsteps to his fellow Florida rappers. When you are listening to PTSD, you will quickly realize that Rod took this album extremely personal. The chorus of “Heart on Ice” says it all;
“Heart been broke so many times I don’t know
what to believe
Mama say it’s my fault, it’s my fault, I wear my
heart on my sleeve”
He isn’t rapping about popping percs in the club and spending racks. “Heart on Ice”, “Proud of Me” and “No Love” are the opposite from that. Deeply personal tracks that feel relatable to anyone going through the pain and strife of a breakup or rocky relationship.
This is where the album somewhat falls off for me. It’s incredibly piano heavy, with a piano loop in pretty much every beat. However, it feels as if a majority of the beats have been washed out to make room for Rod’s voice. Now I understand why an artist might choose to do this but I feel that there is no real reason to do such on PTSD. If the beats stood out a bit more, I think it would not only help the overall sound of the project but also help Rod Wave start to gain larger attention nationwide. He was nominated for XXL Freshman Class this year. I don’t think washing out beats were what caused him to miss getting a spot but amazing beats definitely help blow rappers out.
Aside from the quieter beats, the mixing on the project is good. I discovered Rod first on SoundCloud and sometimes the mixing can be a bit off on there. However, can’t complain at all really. The album feels very digestible if that’s even the right adjective because you can easily listen through this whole thing and not be unsatisfied or bored. That said though, a lot of the track lengths are shorter and only comes in at 33 minutes long. Yet even then, all twelve songs flow very nicely and it is like a solid album through and through.
“Popular Loner”, “PTSD”, “Heart on Ice”, and “Calabasas”
This dude has been gaining really steady momentum in Florida and the south as a whole. I’m honestly in shock that he has started creeping his way up north. Imagine if this man did a track with Dave East or TJ Porter…he would be the next big thing in NYC. I’m serious New Yorkers, put this man on your radar because sooner or later he is going to pop off nationwide! PTSD is easily a:
This 19-year-old from the Tampa Bay area is the next up. He’s got a bit of a road ahead of him but I promise you…this man is next!