Olubowale Victor Akintimehin, best known as Wale, assembled and released his latest album titled "The Imperfect Storm" which exhibits the most intrinsic, unfiltered perspective of the insight of black people in the disastrous year of 2020.
The sixth-track EP walks the listeners through the recent events following police brutality, protests, and disquietude thoughts and feelings towards the current climate while being black in the United States of America. His musical expression in this album encourages his fans to unravel their consciousness and embrace the raw, unjustifiable reality of this pandemic.
The album begins with a funkadelic groove titled, "MOVIN' DIFFERENT", featuring McClenney discusses the psychological process of navigating through the dismal reality of the current series of events. The struggle of obtaining peace and where to lead oneself in 2020 America is a constant, everyday dialogue that dictates how the state of the community progresses.
Snippets of news coverage audio serve as educational ear candy to the uncanny parallel of how the depictions of peaceful protests escalate to riots and lootings under the hands of "unidentified civil disobedience". Wale vocalizes the internal dialogue with "Who my ally or enemy?/ Who is empty, who got empathy?", translating the rotating query that resides in many.
"EMPTY WISHING WELL" opens as the second track in a soulful, alternative R&B melody with trap elements, featuring Eric Bellinger. The song reflects the uncertainty and inconsistency of every vessel of social life and romantic aspects shown in the reality of relationships in the midst of quarantine.
Bellinger's chorus, "Time will only tell if it's real or if it's not/We'll be feelin' like we out of space (Space)/'Til we feelin' like we probably need space/Time will only tell", paints the insight of a sporadic cycle of evaluation in the everchanging state of life between a couple. The lack of patience and slow process of ultimately disconnecting in the relationship, the world, and even oneself is apparent through the song within the undertone of removing themselves from the equation to gain a form of internal, temporary tranquility.
"BLUE YELLOW GREEN PINK WHITE" escorts his third song, under the experiences with addiction while following the carelessness of enjoying life without the consideration of what lies ahead. The tone of the song follows a feeling of disassociation while vaguely acknowledging the chaos that thrives under the influence of an up-beat, damn near infectious-fused beat. If you listen carefully under the jumping, catchy hook, you would soon realize that the song is essentially an escape from reality.
"JUNE 5TH / QueenZnGodZ" is the fourth dual, punch-packing song that leaps into the ideologies of what is adjudged as black culture.
The lyricism in "JUNE 5th", smoothly illustrates the blatant double-edged sword of how black culture and entertainment is presented and praised yet to address its contribution in America falls short. He continues by elaborating on the concept of a "Karen" in which targets her distaste for the riots and looting of stores, before transitioning into the audio of a protestor declaring how black lives matter more than the businesses being tarnished.
"QueenZnGodZ", follows a softer melodic R&B paired with a boom-bap hip-hop influence welcomes the new perspective of black unification. QueenZnGodZ discusses the fluidity of love amongst the notion that there is a spiritual connection that connects a black couple together. Wale pays homage to black women by referring to them as queens and goddesses while acknowledging their importance in his life. We love to see it.
The fifth song in the album, "SHIT DON'T STOP" featuring Eric Bellinger, is a one minute and 35 seconds loops with the message that Wale is still here by the power of prayer, due to the deadly hatred that has festered into the form of police brutality.
In a single verse, Wale repeats "Twelve here, well, somebody better pray for me" conveying the anxiety most black people identify with when in contact with police. He also pays homage to Oluwatoyin Salau, a 19-year-old activist who was found dead after tweeting about her sexual assault in Tallahassee, Florida.
The sixth song, "MAAJO" brings an unexpected Yoruba-inspired instrumental, produced by King Sunny Ade, with a lyrical flow that's joined with a choir intro and a fast-paced drum set. Wale makes a point to refer back to the present moment of his day-to-day movement, wrapping the audience back to the initial illusions presented in his artistic presentation of the EP.
Wale leaves his statements through expressing lyrics such as, "And it's fuck COVID, I don't got no summer" or in his second verse, "The cops ain't vigilant, let's see if you payin' attention" along with "And yet they get offended when niggas see the flag different". In the final two minute and thirty-five-second track, it leaves you bouncing on the beat with the same refined message that this country can no longer pry away from the institutionalized, historical systemic racism that it has been founded upon.
The title of the EP, "The Imperfect Storm" epitomizes the most accurate depiction of what this generation is magnifying, documenting, and holding accountable. Through his ability to introduce his trail of thoughts, he has opened up more conversation surrounding the entirety of the social climate we are facing.
Now, it is left to all of us to continue to pioneer the power of change and progression towards liberation.
Written by: Tasha Dowbachuk