By Herman Dugbartey
Just in time for the summer, hip-hop's Nigerian lyricist has returned with his fifth album, titled "Shine." It has been about two years since we have heard from the confident, controversial rapper, Wale.
The D.C. native's last project, "The Album About Nothing," was released in Spring 2015. The album was narrated by Jerry Seinfeld and themed around the comedian's former show, "Seinfeld," a show about nothing. Get it?
Outside of his lyrics, Wale is also known for having a vocal, Kanye West-inspired personality when it comes to expressing his views of his personal work.
Last year's Grammys had the rapper in a few Twitter beefs over (what he felt) was a poor judgement in the nominations. His passive-aggressive tweets have gotten him the silent treatment from a few artists who have wanted to collaborate with him. But just like Ye, Wale does have the talent to back up his conceit.
"Shine" continues to show the rapper's ability to stay true to his authentic hip-hop vibe. His cut-throat sharp lyrics, stinging punch lines and complex metaphors are all present in almost every track – still keeping his identity but adding more catchy instrumentals.
Although this new project has taken a different direction from Wale's popular "About Nothing" mixtapes and last album, it is a more positive and mature route.
The album has a wide variety of sounds and tempos, all of which contribute to its smooth flow. Not to forget, it has an extensive list of featured artists as well, such as Chris Brown, WizKid, G-Easy, Travis Scott and Lil Wayne.
Some favorite tracks to listen to are "My Love" and "My PYT." Both give a high-life-esque beat – the African musical genre – mixed with a dancehall rhythm which make a perfect two-step party track.
"Mathematics" gives a harder, slower feel, perfect for a gym playlist to get in that last rep. Lastly, "Smile" is the most hip-hoppish track out of the 14-track list. The authenticity can be felt here as he dedicates the last track of his album to his newborn baby girl.
"Shine" contains everything needed to be labeled as a true hip-hop album in a time where its definition has been lost. But even as a hip-hop album, Wale was still able to bring glimpses of R&B, dancehall, high-life and even some Spanish twists in his project.
Allow your summer 2017 to shine with Wale and add it to your musical rotation.