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Image via Wahid


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Eric Diep lives to blog another day.


“Oh God, must be dreaming, but I’m trying to wake up/Oh God, must be dreaming, why do I feel stuck?” – Wahid on “Solstice”

In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic shut the world down, Orlando rapper Wahid attempted to capture his feelings of loneliness and futile attempt at self-medication. “Shorty come take my whip, I really can’t drive/my vision all blurred up/night shift, feeling like this when the rain come by.” On “Solstice,” he mentions one of his best friends who passed away – the person who taught him how to construct rhymes, and whose loss led him deeper into darkness. It became the first song to end up on his Innovative Leisure debut, feast, by ravens.

Overcoming pain allowed Wahid to find hope in moving forward. After splitting from his nine-person collective seeyousoon, he learned to focus on himself. He began to rap at university in Tallahassee, immersing himself in the hip-hop community by doing shows with another lyrical hip-hop collective CAP 6, and rapping in cyphers. By the time he returned to Orlando, the scene had evolved with pockets of rap, metal, pop-punk, rock, and electronic scattered throughout the city.

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At his core, the 30-year-old rapper is a traditionalist whose careful attention to expressing emotion and creating reflective moods places him in the more conscious cluster of the Florida rap constellation (Chester Watson, They Hate Change). As Wahid explains, Orlando’s hip-hop scene is comparable to Chicago, crisscrossing cultural hubs and so widespread that one sound doesn’t represent it all. “You have the drill scene, but you also have Mick Jenkins, Saba, and Noname. That’s what I would compare it to.”

As a student of hip-hop, he’s a sponge: you can hear Yasiin Bey, Black Thought, Isaiah Rashad, and even hints of Nas in his music. If you follow him on @wahidpraisesdue on social media, he is not shy to show appreciation for Little Brother albums, telling me about how he’s seen the May the Lord Watch documentary multiple times, seeing himself in Little Brother and their origin story of meeting at an HBCU to create music that stood out with friends.

The release of feast, by ravens on March 22 via Innovative Leisure is an important stepping stone. It’s a natural progression from his time in seeyousoon, developing himself enough to establish an audience for his long-awaited IL debut. Inspired by Elijah and the first book of Kings, Wahid worked closely with his producer Vitamn to create this EP. In intimate sessions at Vitamn’s home, Wahid described being in a “flow state” as he was writing and doing demos with him, then recording with his engineer Ignacio in the studio to finish the final product.

I spoke with Wahid over Zoom in February, the day before “Solstice” officially came out. He was easygoing as we broke down the meaning behind feast, by ravens, where his “God resides in the Southside” catchphrase comes from, coming up in Tallahassee and Orlando’s music communities, and what he wants to accomplish as an artist.



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