Wale (Pronounced “WAL-AY”) recently released his twelfth mixtape, It’s Complicated, a four-song extended play from his record label, Every Blue Moon.
The 33-year-old Washington D.C. native first gained notoriety with his single, “Dig Dug (Shake It),” which was written as a tribute to Ronald “Dig Dug” Dixon, a percussion player for the “go-go” band, the Northeast Groovers. The song was the first of several from the D.C. area rapper that was inspired by the ’70s go-go sound. But before long he started to develop his own, more modern pop sound with the guidance of Grammy Award-winning producer Mark Ronson, who first signed him to his label Allido Records in 2007. He has since gone on to work with artists such as Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, and Gucci Mane.
The mixtape opens with the title track, “It’s Complicated” an introspective track about love and relationships in the age of Instagram and social media. Wale tells listeners, from his point-of-view, about how he sees himself in past relationships as “damaged goods.”
“I believe that love is complicated at best / And that it’s worse it’s that permanent burning that’s in your chest / I prayed to earn that from somebody some day / But somehow someway I no longer have a heart to invest, it’s miles away.”
Wale continues to rap about relationships and matters of the heart on the track, “Black Bonnie,” featuring R&B singer Jacquees on this funky beat from Ayo the Producer. The song is a reference to the 1930’s bank-robbing couple “Bonnie and Clyde.”
Another noteworthy track, “Effortless,” gives off a more mainstream hip-hop vibe, with modern electronic-tinged beats and a subtle layer of that local ’70s go-go sound. The mixtape comes to a close with “Let it Go,” a uniquely percussive beat, featuring more introspective and personal lyrics about his loneliness and insecurities.
While this album is melodic and beautiful, it is very real. At times it can feel extremely depressing, but it tells of experiences we can all relate to or have gone through in our lives and for that reason.
RATING: 4 / 5