The Refill is a collection of singles, deep cuts, and unreleased material from WoRm’s personal catalogue over the past few years, but the title reflects more than that. The soul-sampled beats and chill production work make for a rejuvenating listen. Despite being handpicked from different album projects, the mixtape flows gracefully from one track to the next, which helps create a laid-back experience. As the artwork informs, it goes well with a cool drink after a long, draining week.
The mixtape’s lyrics are positive, often focusing on nights out in the city. Two previous lead singles–“Choppin’ Blades” from 2014’s #ShoeBoxFull and “Shorts N Sweatshirts” from a since-shelved album of the same name–celebrate riding in style, temperate climates, and nightlife camaraderie. Both are catchy, but “Shorts N Sweatshirts” is especially fun with pitched vocal samples, a bright beat laced with subtle funk and disco elements, and a pre-chorus feature from Odessa I Reign. That it all fits so seamlessly together in a rap song is a testament to WoRm’s skill as an arranger.
The three new songs echo these feel-good vibes, including the date night themed “63rd N MLK” that playfully proclaims “I have a dream to ride clean with my queen.” Visitors to the Cinemark Tinseltown at that location know the theater to be a major attraction on weekends. “Let’s Chill,” by contrast, is more content to stream a movie at home. It, too, focuses on early-stage relationships, which is a theme that crops up fittingly in the mixtape’s occasional effervescence. “Sweet N Sour,” the third new cut, is a strip club jam, so it’s interesting that it’s more stripped back than the others. On the physical copy, this is the closer, elegantly leaving with the line “If you got a dream, just give it all you got.”
The online streaming version of The Refill, on the other hand, ends with “The Appetizer,” which is actually the opener on the physical version. It works as either, but since it departs from the mixtape’s signature feel, its role as closer is probably best. One notable difference with “The Appetizer” is its heavier bass line, which is more suited to a subwoofer than much of the mixtape. Another is the unexpected pinch of social commentary at the end—up to this point, the track merely reflected more dating scenarios.
In the greater context of WoRm’s body of work, The Refill represents a turning point. In addition to being a compilation, it is also a way for WoRm to tie up loose ends from prior work and close a chapter in his career. He is expected to unveil a new full-length this summer called Chicken N Waffles, to which “The Appetizer” is, yes, the appetizer. That track actually credits Detroit-based Tall Black Guy as its sole producer, not WoRm, which could be telling. It’s far too soon to theorize what this full-length release will entail, but with a stopgap like The Refill preceding it, chances are it will be pivotal in WoRm’s discography.
In the meantime, he has given his fans and community at large plenty to digest. By name-dropping humble northside OKC hangouts like Beverly’s Pancake House and Wing Stop, it’s clear that he’s a man of the people. For those looking for a soundtrack to life in the city, this is an easy recommendation; for those looking to get more acquainted with WoRm, a producer who works with some of the biggest and best talent in town, this mixtape is the perfect place to start.
This article was originally written for Cellar Door Music Group (cellardoormusicgroup.com). It is archived here with the publisher’s permission.
aka Jarvix, the Chief Executive Weirdo of Make Oklahoma Weirder. His out-of-the-box music coverage has been published by the Oklahoma Gazette, KOSU, and The Oklahoman among others. He also makes DIY music as a solo multi-instrumentalist live looper in his spare time.