RESPECT. Review: Roy Wood$’ ‘Waking at Dawn’ – Fantastic Representation of Contemporary R&B


Roy Wood$ has been sort of an enigma to me the past year. I enjoyed a couple of tracks off of his Exis EP. More specifically I enjoyed Roy’s single “Drama” that featured his mentor Drake. That track easily showcased the reason why he has been pegged to open for Drizzy and Future during the upcoming “Summer Sixteen” tour.

In preparation for the road, Wood$ releases his debut album, Waking at Dawn . This album would be the first time most people will even hear one of Roy’s songs. So this debut had to make a statement while continuing to develop as an artist.

For the most part, Roy Wood$ delivers with this record. With only ten tracks on the album its self, there was a very small margin of error for the Toronto native. Roy opens the LP with “Sonicboom.

This track only contains one verse but it really opens up on the themes of the album. Wood$ explains the state of mind he has been in lately:

“I could pop another pill tonight/Even though I don’t really want one/The Xanax got me on a flight/I don’t need much
I just want to get a buzz from the blunt/Sipping beverage here on my own/I just want to wyle with you”

These lines set the tone for the record, in my opinion, dealing with issues of love and drug use.

Next, on the tracklist is “You Love It.” This song is one of the highlights of the whole album. Yes, Wood$ is channeling the same flow from “Drama,” however, it shows just how much more refined his sound has gotten. Roy even references that track in “You Love it.” This record really gives the album some momentum going into the other tracks on the album. Which are the two singles “Gwan Big Up Urself” and “How I Feel.


Both of these songs are full of Roy Wood$ island roots. From the bouncing beats to the accent that he pushes on  both of these songs you can easily see how Drake got influenced to make the highly acclaimed tracks “Controlla” and “One Dance” of his recent chart-topping project Views.

After these two high energy tracks, Roy switches it up with a slow jam called “Down Girl” that houses one of my favorite hooks of the year.

“All that I see in the jawn/Is the girl that every other ni**a wants/Clique turnt up, all burnt up/After this girl, I’mma take you where they won’t”

Wood$ really steps up his songwriting game on this track as well as the following one “Switch,” which really marks a change in the sound on the album as a whole.

From track seven on, the album goes in a new direction. On songs “Got Me” “Why,” “Menace” and “She knows Me,” It really feels like Roy turns into an impersonation of The Weekend.

Not saying that I don’t like any of the remaining songs on the album. Personally, I think “Menace” is brilliant. However, it is a sound that has been done before especially at such high level with Abel’s latest release of Beauty Behind The Madness.

This is a problem because the majority album just feels so original. I understand the need to explore different sounds but when it isn’t broke yet don’t fix it.

All in All, Roy Wood$ debut Waking At Dawn is extremely solid and should be in your rotation this summer and beyond. It isn’t perfect but so far it is my favorite release of the OVO Sound label, next to the DVSN album that dropped in March.

You can stream Waking At Dawn, on Apple Music, here.

For more coverage on Roy Wood$ and all of the OVO crew, keep it locked on RESPECT.

Suggested Articles:

ScHoolboy Q’s Blank Face LP: 90’s Gangsta Rap and Its Contemporary Revival

RESPECT. Review: Chance the Rapper’s ‘Coloring Book’