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ATL UNTRAPPED: Will Hill and Hollywood Cole are a winning combination

The rapper and producer duo go three for three with their latest project, “Bring the Bottles In”

Will Hill 4 (1)
Photo credit: Ant Soulo
SPECIAL OCCASION: Will Hill and Hollywood Cole reflect on their three-peat.

Champagne is a symbol of celebration, success, and triumph. That’s why only one NBA team returns to their locker room to pop bottles at the end of the playoffs, and that’s why only one NASCAR driver gets to spray champagne all over the place when the race is over. Bottles of the sparkling wine are typically brought in for special occasions, and that’s why Will Hill and Hollywood Cole’s latest joint project overflows with champagne references.

Titled Bring the Bottles In, the rapper-producer duo’s new nine-track project arrived on May 26, more than a full year removed from their rapid-fire 2020 collaborative efforts Atlantafornia and Hollywood Hill. Laced with album artwork that features Hill unleashing a powerful champagne spray from a bottle of Veuve Clicquot while sitting next to Cole, Bring the Bottles In evokes the celebratory imagery of championship games and career-defining moments.

“Live From the Cockpit,” the album’s first track, commences with the clinking of champagne bottles as Cole’s soulful production rolls in. Hill informs the listener that they are listening to “the sound of the ’08 Veuve Rosé,” and it’s hard not to feel exultant and emboldened by the song’s luxurious sonic aesthetic. Like “Live From The Cockpit,” the rest of Bring the Bottles In sounds like what three-peating must feel like, which is why the album presents the perfect opportunity to take a step back and reflect on what Hill and Cole have accomplished together.

“I’m feeling good,” Cole admits. “It’s our third project, and we’re really trying to take things to the next level. We put in a lot of work and a lot of late nights — kickin’ it, trying to craft ideas, and doing samples.”

“Just to piggyback off of that,” Hill adds, “it’s more than being glad that it’s out and everyone can hear it. Bring the Bottles In is me coming into my own and us reaching a new stage; we done leveled up. Everybody that’s hit me has been like, ‘This is an amazing piece of work,’ so I’m glad that there’s a good amount of people that are enjoying the tape and feel strongly about it.”

Since last February, the two artists have demonstrated on three separate projects that their collaborative chemistry is unlike any rapper-producer pairing in the city. From the spacey and weed rap-esque sound that prevailed on their first collaborative project to the more varied and mature soundscapes on their most recent effort, Hill and Cole’s output is only getting stronger, proving that they deserve to be mentioned among some of the best rapper-producer combos to recently come out of Atlanta.

“You can see the growth and the progression in each one,” Hill says. “On Bring the Bottles In, there’s a couple of songs that aren’t naturally me, but Cole was on me like, ‘Come on, Will!’ Working with Cole is exciting because it’s challenging, and it ain’t the same thing every time.”

In the same time frame in which they dropped Atlantafornia, Hollywood Hill, and Bring the Bottles In, Metro Boomin and 21 Savage teamed up for the chart-topping album Savage Mode II, Key! outsourced 17 beats from Brooklyn producer Tony Seltzer for the quirky underground project The Alpha Jerk, and longtime collaborators Deante’ Hitchcock and Brandon Phillips Taylor constructed one of the best rap albums of 2020 with Better. Unlike any of the aforementioned couplings, however, Hill and Cole have released back-to-back-to-back bodies of work over the past 14 months.

Together, Hill — a consistent emcee who has been working tirelessly as an independent artist over the past decade — and Cole — a talented producer who has gotten beat placements with artists such as Lil Wayne, Isaiah Rashad, G Herbo, Childish Major, and Quentin Miller — are a force to be reckoned with, and according to them, their combined success is the result of friendship, shared experiences, and a mutual love for West Coast hip-hop.

“I’m originally from the West Coast, born in Seattle. My mom’s from Seattle and my pops is from the Bay,” Cole reveals. “I’m a West Coast kid, and Will’s got roots from the West Coast, just like me. We’re both just chill and laid-back, and we like Dom Kennedy, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, The Chronic, Bay music, and all that type of stuff.”

“Me and Will just have a good chemistry, so when it came to crafting the sound and making the music, it was second nature to us,” he continues. “Plus, Will is talented, and he trusts me. As a producer, I have to give the artists a canvas because they gotta paint a picture. I could give him anything, a 6x6 or a 15x24, because he trusts me.”

As a local outfit that resonates more with the pairings of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z and Pharrell more than hometown favorites like Gucci Mane and Zaytoven, Hill and Cole were bound to stand out in Atlanta. Now, on the heels of Bring the Bottles In, they have found themselves in a position similar to the one Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were in following their first three consecutive NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls from 1991 to 1993.

But rather than putting their current run on hold like Jordan infamously did with the Bulls during his first retirement, the rapper and producer don’t plan on parting ways anytime soon, despite Cole’s jokes that Hill is tired of rapping on his beats. Will Hill and Hollywood Cole will be back with more music soon, but for now, let’s bring the bottles in and celebrate the Atlanta-based duo’s incredible three-peat. —CL—

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