Mad World EP

Willdy Diamond

Skip-proof. That’s what musicians strive for when they record an album, and very few are able to sustain the energy so that not one track gets skipped. But Chico MC Willdy Diamond earns this elusive standard with the masterful 10-song Mad World EP. The mood oscillates between somber and upbeat. The melancholy feel of the opening and title track employs a melodic piano and simple (and ice cold) drum loop that mixes so effortlessly with Diamond’s aloof, confident flow. Former P.AND.A emcee and beat producer Shadrach lifts the spirits of “Good Ninja” in contrast to Diamond’s lyrics about the perils of growing up poor, desperate and black in America. And the sparse musical accompaniment (finger snaps and bright string plinks drenched in reverb) of “Michelle’s Husband” brings the focus in tight on Diamond’s lyrics: “Crack sacks, I’m tryin’ to sell to these crackerjacks/ Fuck Ronald Reagan, man I’m tryin’ to get him back.” “Go Home” is fueled by a Neptunes-type keyboard (that “Wonderful Christmastime” sound), and scorching lyrics—“They gettin’ all the buzz but I be kickin’ all the wisdom/ They know that I be spittin’ but they probably never listen/ Nigga, that’s why I’m underrated.” If he keeps going at this level, this local treasure won’t be “underrated” for long.