"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wale Should Be Your New Favorite Rapper

"Flyer than the rest of them..."

Once upon a time when hip hop wasn’t rotting slowly underneath two tons worth of swollen earth and dirt, rap artists of varying and different styles (and not just rappers who had their very own accompanying dances either!!! I know, shocking!) coexisted, thrived and shared the bounty of land. Artists as differing as Q-Tip and Eazy E could share space in the hip hop landscape with artists like UGK and Mobb Deep. Everybody was allowed to carve their own niche and all was right with the world. Of course, that was UNTIL the forces of the New World Order had Tupac and Biggie assassinated (“allegedly” but come to think of it...as if...) and Puffy decided, despite the fact that he had no discernible musical talent, he would release a rap record and ruin the whole genre in one single stroke. Soon unless you fit into (“roughly”) three predefined categories (backpacker, gangster, and ignorant and/or Southern), your ass was out in the cold as if you were Colin Powell or something. This was all well and good for the business and lot of money was leeched off the art form by dudes like Jimmy Iovine and L.A. Reid. However, like all gravy trains, it came to a horrific “Dakota-Fanning-being-drawn-and-quartered- by-four-Chevy-Tahoes” end when digital downloads destroyed the entire music industry business model and white teenagers soon became distracted by something shiny in the street. Now the rap music industry is in utter and total chaos and are desperate to find anybody and ANYTHING that will separate these people from their money.

For those who don’t know, Olubowale Folarin only slightly better known to the world as Wale is a D.C. area rapper that has a sound that is roughly 622.3 times different than anything else being played on your radio station. Imagine if you took the vocal stylings and delivery of Lil’ Wayne combined it with the jazzy cool of A Tribe Called Quest, fused it with the swaggering funk of D.C. go-go music, tossed it into a blender and then hit mutilate. Wale is a rapper that has been making big noise in the notoriously under appreciated D.C. music scene and is just starting to gain steam within the mainstream. His brilliant mixtape, 100 Miles And Running, was in this not-a-blogger’s opinion was the best mixtape of last year. Wale, a protégé of Mark Ronson, was savvy enough to showcase his ample lyrical ability over fare as diverse as Lily Allen’s “Smile”, French electronica duo, Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.” and Big Daddy Kane’s “Warm It Up.”

Wale is a rapper that has a breezy, witty and swinging style that reminds me of a cross of Lupe Fiasco at his most accessible, Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne and Devin the Dude. Wale is a likable every man who raps about a variety of subject matter that can relate to anybody. On “Nobody” he raps about being true to one’s self, on the “Smile (Remix)”, he raps from the perspective of Lily Allen’s cheating boyfriend, and on “Warming Up Cane”, he discusses drug dealing and the human effect that it has on people. Wale isn’t breaking any ground lyrically but he employs clever wordplay and has a swinging, bright delivery. He's sort of like Kanye if Kanye could actually rap.

If you haven’t heard Wale’s independent single, “Nike Boots” yet, I suggest that you download it from the link below and be prepared to be stunned. It’s one of the best new songs that I’ve heard in a damn while. “Nike Boots” is an epic D.C. pride anthem that is nowhere near as shallow as the title of the song might suggest. It sounds like the cousin to Rich Boy’s “Throw Some D’s” in both spirit and sound. You need some Wale in your life... like now.

Download: Wale’s “100 Miles And Running” Mixtape

Download: Wale's "Nike Boots"


Wale's MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/wale202

http://www.theaestheticpoetic.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/wale.jpg

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

couldnt agree more. I've been bumping that tape for the last couple of months. I've always been generally annoyed by the divisive hip hop cultures/sounds of north vs south -north always focussing on gritty lyricism, whereas the south being fixated on sort of adventurous/stylized flow. i never figured why more people didnt bridge the obvious gaps. i've got no clue if its the influence of go-go(which i have no clue about)or whether newer rap generations are more comfortable absorbing from all sorts of palettes (as opposed to just duplicating their regional forefathers), but wale's mixtape makes the future look promising -jaykay

DocZeus said...

Jay Kay-

I think a reason for the fact that we don't see many rappers make the logical conclusion to bridge the gap between the various regional styles is that too many rappers are all to willing to fill the record label's preconcieved niches that a rapper is supposed to be like and therefore, they have no reason to take a chance on somebody truly different. They'd much rather sell a fourth rate Jeezy clone than push somebody like Wale or something.

It's as if record labels have completely forgotten how to push artists that sound different. This never used to happen when hip hop was so truly diverse. Instead, we get the illusion of diversity.

Chaz said...

First time commenter, long time hater-fan.

Anyways, being from DC (the urreah), I could definitely cosign not only the authentic regional sound of Wale, but his talent. All of the comparisons are spot-on, and "Rediscover Me" is one of the best songs I heard last year.

Passion of the Weiss said...

I'm going to have to check this. I'm been meaning to listen to this dude for a while now. Nice write up.

Passion of the Weiss said...

You were right. This tape is pretty damn good.

Hip-Hop said...

Dude is good!!!!

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