musings from within

The buildup to Wale’s 6th & (maybe) final album. An introspective think piece.

wale-new-album-wow-thats-crazy-trailer

“Womanizer prolly’, coulda’ been a feminist cause I respect em’ but Lord I got polygamy problems.”

Wow…That’s Crazy: A reflective meditation on the passionate, unapologetic, and emotional DMV rapper’s 6th album.

When Wale announced his album title and date, I personally as someone who not only really enjoys Wale’s music, but identifies with his anti-passive demeanor, was worried. He had been releasing EP’s and songs for the past two years, and was prepping for a something-but I, along with plenty of other Wale fans I’m certain, thought it was too good to be true. The antisocial, self-destructive, frustrated and temperamental rapper was doing too good. He was bound to mess up again in the public’s eyes. I mean, his past called for it, right? His past twitter rants, and consistent complaining whether it be of his label, associates in the industry, women, or family, would call for something so fitting to the rapper’s career trajectory.

He had teased retirement on a guest phone call turned rant on the Joe Budden Podcast this time last year. “The dumbest shi*t somebody can ask you in this industry is “Why you care what people think? I care cause I don’t work at Subway ni**a! The Fu*k? Them ni**as don’t care if you like their sandwich or not ni**a!” “It’s not cool not being liked, and I just found out how all that industry sh*t works and it just like-depressed me for two days.” He yelled at Joe. So, I naturally figured that he was on his what it seemed to be yearly music industry rant tour.

 

Image result for all star breakup wale

Insert: “All Star Breakup” (February 2018). Wale is doing just what he does, very well. Rapping using his complex yet very effective switch of flows, mixed with top tier lyricism and pretty good wordplay, about a woman who’s broke his heart and chose an NBA player over him, over a super dry and fitting beat. I love THAT bag that Wale gets in to. It’s the pure essence of rap. He’s one of the few rappers who I believe can make you feel every emotion that he’s portraying without a switch of tone, it’s a skill that very few have. “I’m tryna block the part of my heart that thrives off your affection/You tried the love it’s not enough, it’s cars, it’s money, attention.” He raps on the song about heartbreak that was premeditatedly released the day before Valentines day.

Then comes, a wave of music. From Self-Promotion, to Winter Wars, to It’s Complicated. Wale had, and let me say this clearly, NOT MISSED all year. Most people like to say that the good rappers can’t make songs and the good song makers can’t rap. And, in this new hybrid heavy music scene of 2019, that’s mostly true. You either like one or the other, both, or the guys who do both. That’s what separates Kendrick, Cole, Hov, and Drake from the field. They do both at a really elite level. Well, I know we don’t pay him enough attention or anything but..Wale does that too. And has been doing so since Ambition. I tweeted on July 13th, “I know y’all don’t appreciate him but Wale just released the ideal “song of the summer” yesterday lol”. He had been building up steam for that one moment, insert: “On Chill” (July, 2019)

It was finally happening. Wale was building up to the moment he had always deserved. Getting his flowers for his ability as a top 5 rapper of the past 10 years, and a top 50 rapper of all time (I promise I’m not debating any of y’all or your list lol). A song that could reach the masses and show off his premier rapping and song making with his friend and frequent collaborator, Jeremih. “Life hard and ex-lovers is like scars/cause it stop hurting but never forgetting what it was.” He raps while Jeremih comes in with vocals that catch any listeners ears because of the sample behind him.

Insert: Wow…That’s Crazy (October 2019).

Wale comes in with “Sue Me” a clear intro that sets the tone for his unapologetic collection of songs that I find to be like a diary, as they are a documentation of the emotions he goes through while navigating his complicated relationship with the industry, women, and himself. Sue Me is one of the best intros on an album all year. It’s not even really arguable. He immediately lets the listeners know what time of time he’s on from the start.

Lyrics that stuck with me:

“Maybe 'cause I was searchin', I found me the perfect person
But me and her didn't work out, she buried what she worked for”

“Everybody be asking my sixth album my last
I'm super sick of this business
My daughter missin' me, ni**a”

More heartbreak and complaining, right? And I, for one; love it. His super introspective ways will never get old.

The second song, “Love & Loyalty” is a melodic, and fun song that features afrobeat tempo. It’s impossible to not have any body movement while this is playing. The chorus, done by Mannywellz is almost too catchy, along with his memorable lyrics “I just want 100% from a pretty woman”. The second song on the album is super refreshing and allows people a break for the emotional roller-coaster that is this album.

Insert: “Cliché” One of my personal favorites from the album features Ari Lenox and Wale’s associate Boogie, who if your unfamiliar does a similar style of poetic excellence through his music. Ari brings the song in with her soulful voice singing lyrics that resemble someone who is struggling with the growing pains of life. (See my article on her under “Blog”) “I'm saying though, I’m too selfish to leave you all that I got, uh/That sh** harder than mending shit with my pops, uh/That sh** harder than women giving out props” Boogie raps. Wale touches on his depression and anxiety problems that he went more in depth to with his interview on the Breakfast Club last week. It’s a soulful song from the three people who I consider to be some of the best that tap into their emotions through their expression musically. The beat doesn’t slap, but it does knock. It isn’t enough to take the spotlight off of the artists voices, but it walks at a pace with them.

True story, as soon as 6lack came in on the next song, “Expectations” with “You expect me to know/a lot of sh** that I’m just out here tryna’ figure out” I had to run the song back multiple times. That is one helluva’ way to start a song, 6lack. Especially the way it resonated with me personally. It’s a darker song, especially for Wale, it seemed like Wale met 6lack halfway with the dark tone of the piano used in this song. Wale gives more of an explanation of his problems with depression and anxiety that he touched on in the previous track. He even gives us a memorable 3rd verse that continues his career long love and admiration for women and their natural beauty. “Most of these pseudo celebrities ain't really beautiful as you could ever be/Talkin', the tannin', and bleachin'/
And all the procedures that make you go think that you not a queen”. If you’re looking for a dark yet chill, deceptively peaceful song, this is the one for you.

Lyrics that stuck with me:

“The winter is here, depression is triplin'
Nobody give a shit, I'm gettin' bread
Industry really be killin' my niggas
Guess entertainment business yin and the yang
Wait, I'm not the same, I can't find no peace
I sacrifice my world to a world that ignore me
Black man in therapy, 'cause white terror don't sleep
I got to roll up my leaf, might stop the PTSD”

“BGM” is next. This was not only another hit, but a song that boasts’ Wale ability to make songs. It’s beat is a simple tempo that resembles Love & Loyalty. I could see this song ringing off on social media and a challenge being created of people enjoying themselves dancing in videos. It’s one of those. He continues the career long theme of showing his affection to and empowering our black women. “Black is beautiful shawty, black is gold.” “Black women I love you, wish it all coulda worked/I still know that you love me, that’s why I hurt when you hurt”, he raps on the track that should surely go off in the early hours of the party.

Next is: Love...(Her fault) This features Bryson Tiller and is the beginning of what seems to be a love story on the album. The beat knocks. It has clear 808’s, with a easy to head nod to tempo. Wale is talking about his problems with a woman who he is desperately trying to work things out with, but they can’t see eye to eye.

Lyrics that stuck with me:

I know that we not together
I know we don't see each other
I'm hoping this beef is fake, the impossible
We could do it, impossible

After “On Chill” we get a MMG collab! Meek comes in on a beat that sounds like it was handpicked for him, doing what he does best. Rapping about hustling, staying solid, and being in his bag “You know the routine”). It’s a song that you put on your gym playlist or when you just want a break from the slow sound. Wale, once again, boasts his abilities to not only rap, but to make great songs along with rapping. Next is “Love Me Nina/Semiautomatic”, and while it wasn’t my favorite off the album, it’s another reflective song about the problems Wale has faced in the industry being a black man. “Yeah, we make depression look so effortless/We desensitize while America tryna kill our kids” he raps. It features a nice beat change halfway through that highlight Wale’s profound lyrics. That third verse is one of my standouts from the album.

“Break My Heart (My Fault) is next. This song is melody heavy, featuring a great guest appearance from Lil Durk. It sounds more like a Lil Durk type beat, which makes sense being that the produces is from Durk’s camp, OTF. Wale is rapping but he gets into his singing bag, or whatever it is that most rappers are doing in 2019. This was my favorite song on the album off of first listen simply because of how quickly it caught me. Wale is rapping very well on this song, but the melody and sound of the music kind of take the shine away from it. Until he does, what seems to be a theme on the album, his third verse, with a lower beat that highlights what he’s trying to get people to hear.

Lyrics that stuck with me:

Yeah, and on the real we should break up
Run away at your pace/’Cause I'm a walking mistake

“She gonna find her solace in knowing a nigga damaged”

Following is “Debbie”. Another tempo heavy, afrobeat influenced song that features Wale singing. He made sure to highlight that this time around, and he had a great showing. I close my eyes and picture me and my ex; lit and enjoying ourselves in the function, or in the car, or at the concert or whatever. It’s another fun song that allows him to get his love off to the same women that have broken him. (Admirable, right?)

“50 in da safe”, my personal new favorite. Wale showcases his ability to switch tones, sing, melody, and rap on this flow heavy track. Amazing beat selection mixed with a standout performance on the chorus from Pink Sweat$ “I keep losing/pieces of my mind”, this song can be thrown on at any time. It covers all of the range of emotions that a person looks for music to numb. It’s my personal favorite, as of today.

Lyrics that stuck with me:

“Confidence fluctuatin', that's why I be anti-social”

He ends the album with “Set You Free” with a fitting feature from Kelly Price. This is the song that ends the album off, fittingly with him expressing his journey of learning to love himself. He speaks on his newfound addiction to alcohol that he had been speaking on throughout the album. It’s one verse says everything that needed to be said for a fitting end to the album (besides the two at the end that were released before the album). I love the introspective artists who isn’t scared to admit their shortcomings, especially being that Wale is a black man, while it’s never easy for us to halfway admit when we are sick.

Lyrics that stuck with me:

“Self-loathing is my addiction amongst
Other things I don't mention 'cause you be itchin' to judge”

“You think you love me but I don't love me enough”

This album means so much to me for so many reasons. The timing in my life in which it was released, with where I am mentally and emotionally. It's one of his many attempts to break the barriers that we have on us as men in America. I tweeted that I respect authentic self-expression because as I grow older, I am starting to understand how important it is to feel what you feel and feel it without being ashamed. It’s turned to a huge form of confidence because of the large amount of self-awareness that comes with it. That feeling of knowing that you’d bet your last dollar on yourself, and truthfully meaning it, is dope. This, along with many other things are the topic of this album. Music is often associated with where we are/were in life when we hear it. And that’s one of the many reasons that this album will be one of my favorites, of all time. It’s timing was impeccable. Without question, this is Wale’s best album. And that’s saying a lot, being that he is currently 6/6. Give this man his flowers for not only his artistry, but for him. The black woman loving, self-destructive, poetic, emotional, truth telling, super genius.



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