Emerging Virginia rapper Kwad came through this Christmas with a brand new mixtape, “Glocks & Butterflies.” On this record, Kwad builds off the hype of his previous “Soundboy” project that dropped earlier this year by cranking up his energy-level to the max and matching his dynamic flows with hypnotic melodies. He gets an assist from Lyrical Lemonade favorite and recent breakthrough artist Yung Bans as well as members of his own GUiLD collective, Koeshr and ELIJVH.
Kwad sounds his best when he’s at his most belligerent, as proven on “Live,” one of this mixtape’s standout tracks. Over a menacing beat powered by keys and 808s, Kwad delivers bars that hit blunt-force conviction. He follows up with an instantly memorable hook to tie together the fits of rage in his verses. Kwad’s wide range of influences stemming from his Jamaican dancehall roots to his love for rock music resonate as he meshes rhythm-driven melodies with raw aggression.
When I spoke to Kwad this summer leading up to the release of “Soundboy,” he had set his sights on putting Virginia’s rap scene on the map and bringing up his GUiLD team with him. At that point, he had just finished high school and sounded ready to take over the world. “Glocks & Butterflies” proves that his ambition has only grown stronger, and his goals have only gotten closer.