A Musical Cyclone of Styles Mastered| Posted November 10, 2018 What You Need To Know:
Gabriel Alberto Azucena, also known as GAWVI, drew inspiration in high school from The Cross Movement (Human Emergency) after a nudge from his mother disapproving of mainstream hip-hop influence. GAWVI was so moved by the record and the inspiration of the genre, he transitioned into Christian Hip-Hop (CHH) almost immediately and, soon after, discovered Lecrae. Fast forward to 2016, and GAWVI signed with Reach Records as an official artist after an 8-year run of being known as their in-house producer, during which he produced several notable singles for Lecrae and Trip Lee from the Reach roster. In the short two-year period since GAWVI released two EPs in 2016 (Lost In Hue and Holding Hue), his debut album in 2017 (We Belong), and now Panorama in October 2018.
What it Sounds Like:
GAWVI describes Panorama as a wide-angle view of a physical space, and he’s achieved such a definition with the overall sound of the 17-track project. He has blended to near perfection a variety of sounds and cultures ranging from Latino, Caribbean, salsa, R&B, and pop. Unlike most of the oversaturated industry highlighted with solely trap beats over mumble rap, this project is a welcome breathe of fresh air regardless of the track. The best word to describe the contents would be "variety." Repeat listens are required to appreciate it's eclectic contents.
“Slingshot” pays tribute to King of Pop Michael Jackson, with a creative reference pleasing to the ears. Salsa-driven “Trapchata” and Latin-laced“Dulce” and “Green Card” (featuring WHATUPRG) immerse Americans into a culture most are foreign to. The final tracks “Get Em” and “Fashion Joe” stick closer to the current hip-hop trap vibes dominating the airwaves nationwide.
A hidden gem is found with “Baker Act” (featuring Aklesso). Essentially a worship song, both artists cry out to Jesus in their own unique fashions, exclaiming that Jesus is working intimately in both of their lives. Aklesso states, “I’ve been searching for my purpose / and I’m learning that God’s working.” GAWVI follows up with, “I’ve been needing Jesus to save me now / I’ve been so alone these days, ahh / I feel all this shame, I don’t care right now / I need you to save, Jesus save us.”
In “No Gas,” lyrics echo “I need Your saving grace / I need You, to take the pain away, yeah.” Throughout the extended project, you hear GAWVI’s requests to be saved, for prayer, and for God to lead him cementing His Savior’s influence over his art and creativity. He’s aligned with Reach Records' overall battle cry to remain unashamed of their faith in and out of the studio.
Best Song on the Record:
There haven’t been too many projects released in 2018 where I’ve struggled to pick a favorite anthem or track. However, Panorama presents that exact dilemma as it plays like a highlight film. Still, “With You” stands out beginning with the mellow acoustic guitar steering the direction of the track, and its overall sound differs sonically from anything else included. Some meaty topics are addressed including depression, death, loss, separation, and most importantly hope. Listeners can immediately relate to the conversation, as did I. The personal feel coupled with the equally visually beautiful video shot for this track cause it to stand out above all else.
Absent of a true throwaway track, the 17-song collection Panorama presents is a beautiful display of how culture and music align regardless of the genre. A collision of vivid styles, lyrical imagery, and relatable lyrics package this project into a true standout. GAWVI takes listeners on an audio journey through his personal struggles, upbringing, and roots. Not only does it give an appreciation for GAWVI the artist, but for his passion for life and music combined.