There are some people on Earth who make impact far bey­ond their own lives and imme­di­ate circles. Often these people aren’t celebrit­ies or well known to main­stream audi­ences, but work tire­lessly behind the scenes of a field or sphere, build­ing its infra­struc­ture and found­a­tion, not for rewards and often without thanks. For inde­pend­ent Hip Hop, Vice Verses was undoubtedly one of those people. A founder of End of the Weak, Vice co-cre­ated what is now being recog­nised glob­ally as the greatest test of an emcees skill, the EOW MC Chal­lenge. Much has been writ­ten and said in IAHH and many oth­er places about EOW over 22 years of glob­al World Cham­pi­on­ships and becom­ing the world’s longest run­ning weekly open mic. This speaks volumes about the people who star­ted and run it; that it is the plat­form not the people that are so often spoken about. So much of their lives, time and energy has gone into cre­at­ing space and oppor­tun­it­ies for oth­ers, often pro­mot­ing their cham­pi­ons and com­munity over their own works.

It is also the case that when we lose such people, the size and scale of the hole they leave reveals just how immense their works are. This is what the glob­al Hip Hop com­munity Vice cul­tiv­ated exper­i­enced when our broth­er transitioned in 2020. Pub­lic­a­tions as big as the New York Post paid trib­ute; legends from the New York Hip Hop com­munity poured in stor­ies of his self­less­ness, hil­ar­ity and tal­ent; mur­als were painted not only in his hood but across the world. And now, thanks to the unwaver­ing spir­it of his fam­ily and closest friends, we have his final album ‘The Crown’. So, this time, this art­icle is not about EOW and all it’s done; it’s about appre­ci­at­ing the skills, lyr­i­cism and craft of a glob­al under­ground Hip Hop icon, the infin­ite Vice Verses.

The fam at IDEA FACT­ORY and EOW, Vice’s plat­forms that have released the album describe it like so:

“The Crown encap­su­lates Vice’s trade­marks: lyr­ic­al, dark, haunt­ing, mel­an­choly, light-hearted, clev­er, and hon­est. It is all of those things, and more. The album per­son­i­fies the unique way Vice con­nec­ted with fam­ily, friends, fel­low artists, kids … with people. While Vice con­cep­tu­al­ized the songs, he nev­er heard them in their fin­ished forms, nev­er heard the fea­tures or some of the beats at all. Yet, the songs are com­pletely Vice. Not a trib­ute or a remem­brance of but an embod­i­ment of Jason “Vice Verses” Wil­li­ams’ spe­cial soul and the way he made you feel if you were lucky enough to know him.”

As one of those lucky indi­vidu­als, I com­pletely agree. Vice is a unique char­ac­ter, who saw the world from a per­spect­ive many oth­ers could­n’t, and could cre­ate out of the spaces this vis­ion gave him. This mani­fests in his word­play; he excels in strik­ing a bal­ance between hav­ing his own, abstract flow and style while striv­ing to cap­ture all the ele­ments expec­ted from the craft. On ‘Have You Ever’ Vice says “I’m the best ever, at put­ting words togeth­er”; I’ve watched him spend hours free­styl­ing, pro­gram­ming incred­ible, intric­ate schemes, based on a blend of words’ mean­ing, rhyme, length and syl­lables, and on ‘The Crown’ this skill is pro­jec­ted into struc­tured tracks. There’s so many entendres, giv­ing each verse lay­ers of mean­ing that dif­fer­ent people will inter­pret in their own ways. This has been strengthened and deepened by the pro­du­cers and col­lab­or­at­ors. The way his fam have taken Vice’s unfin­ished tracks, acapel­las and ideas and built verses, hooks, vibes and con­cepts around them is impec­cable. Once you add the level of emo­tion pro­voked in pro­cessing their feel­ings about his trans­ition, the love with­in the labour is tan­gible. This shines through not only in the music, but in the beau­ti­ful, power­ful visu­als that accom­pany the album.

To do this and still keep the album enter­tain­ing, with dope vari­ety of vibes and feels is no small feat. Some are raw spit­ting like ‘Intro / Vice Vin­cent’, some are forged with emo­tion like ‘Wan­der­ing Why (Chas­ing my Dreams)’, some are built around a concept like ‘Geni­us Thoughts’ or the light hearted and funny ‘Willy Wonka’, while oth­ers are driv­en mostly by feel­ing over lyr­ics like  ‘Dark­ness’. There’s so many facets of Vice’s per­son­al­ity cap­tured on ‘The Crown’ that if you knew him, you’ll see him instantly, and if you did­n’t, it’s the per­fect way to get to know who he is and what he lived for. Of course I’m biased, I know and own that; this is a beau­ti­ful arte­fact giv­en to and by Vice’s fam for us to have a anoth­er heart­felt con­ver­sa­tion with our broth­er. With that acknow­ledged, I fully recom­mend you go have one too, and learn about how this truly inde­pend­ent cre­at­ive trail­blazer lived.


‘The Crown’ is a labor of Love. Exec­ut­ive pro­duced by Vice Verses, his best friend Big Ox aka Omar Pick­er­ing, and his part­ner, the Queen of EOW Kendra Gold­hirsch, with the sup­port of Danyle Wil­li­ams, James Cal­houn, and Patrick Hanos. 

  1. Intro/ Vice Vin­cent — Pro­duced By Agal­lah                                
  2. Broken Heart — Pro­duced by Jess Jamez Music
  3. Count On Me feat. Big OX, Pro­li­fic­Wone, Slaine — Pro­duced By Zia Leonard (Idea Fact­ory)
  4. Have You Ever feat Big OX — Pro­duced By Mas Law
  5. Geni­us Thoughts feat. Agal­lah Da Don, Big Ox — Pro­duced By Agal­lah 
  6. Time To Go feat. Dinco D, Big Ox, Shorty Red — Pro­duced By Dax Car­son                                                                                  
  7. Wan­der­ing Why (Chas­ing My Dream) feat. Shabaam Sah­deeq, Big Zoo — Pro­duced By DJ Rob Flow
  8. Wil­lie Wonka feat. Big Ox, Rob Flow — Pro­duced by Rob Flow
  9. Dark­ness feat. Breeze Eva­Flow­in — Pro­duced By Dax Car­son

Fol­low Vice Verses and EOW on the fol­low­ing plat­forms. There is loads of Vice Verses and EOW mer­chand­ise, includ­ing cloth­ing and prints that go to sup­port the Vice Verses Found­a­tion, which car­ries on Vice’s leg­acy, sup­port­ing yet anoth­er gen­er­a­tion of artists.

IG: @vicevvs @viceversesforever @verses_project @eodub  —

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Apex Zero

Apex Zero

An emcee, beat­maker, film­maker and writer from Lon­don with Gren­adian roots, Apex Zero has spent his life learn­ing and liv­ing Hip Hop cul­ture, using it to inspire and affect change. Based in Beijing for a few years and reg­u­larly tour­ing the globe, Apex is well trav­elled, and uses the les­sons this provides to inform his art and out­look. He is a mem­ber of the Glob­al­Fac­tion digit­al pro­duc­tion house and the inter­na­tion­al Hip Hop col­lect­ive End of the Weak.

About Apex Zero

Apex Zero
An emcee, beatmaker, filmmaker and writer from London with Grenadian roots, Apex Zero has spent his life learning and living Hip Hop culture, using it to inspire and affect change. Based in Beijing for a few years and regularly touring the globe, Apex is well travelled, and uses the lessons this provides to inform his art and outlook. He is a member of the GlobalFaction digital production house and the international Hip Hop collective End of the Weak.