Wale released his sixth studio album this month, Wow…That’s Crazy, two years after his last project SHINE. The artist describes in his bio on Apple Music he “opens up about his world view and some things in it that have been weighing on him.” This project has been highly anticipated, as many fans were again eager to hear his unique lyricism that they would defend is “underrated” and “slept on.”
So, did Wale’s two-year hiatus do him well? Was this the album that would assure him the title as one of the best rappers in the game right now?
Let me start with the cover art. It was genius. The cover depicts a shredded painting of Wale letting go of a red balloon reading the word “crazy.” This is a notable reference to street artist Banksy’s 2018 “Love is in the Bin” art.
Wale’s feature selection was masterful. The 15-track project included a unique set of artists like Ari Lennox, 6lack and Kelly Price. The poetic 54-minute album sequenced well with standout tracks that hit on relevant topics. These standout tracks include “Sue Me,” a perfect gateway into the album. In this first track, Wale declares his love for all things melanated, mentioning Black women like Taraji P. Henson and Issa Rae in his lyrics that lead to the reference of his hook, “Sue me, I am rooting for everybody Black.”
The next notable track is “Expectations” in which he raps “Black men in therapy because white terror don’t sleep / I got to roll up my leaf / might stop the PTSD.”
This is one of the most memorable bars of the entire album. Wale is often vocal about mental health in the media, but this track doesn’t seem to give much more context to his struggles or experience.
In track five, “BGM (Black Girl Magic),” he praises the beauty and resiliency of Black women with bars like “Black is beautiful, shorty, Black is bold / Black is black, true, but black is gold.”
Another standout track, “Love me Nina / Semiautomatic” brings in the smooth and compelling voice of the late Nina Simone speaking about Black pride. Progressing through the album, it is recognized that the gifted artist had a lot of topics he wanted to touch on, but because there were so many, he could not delve too deep into all of them. The album closer, “Poledancer” features Meg Thee Stallion, which in my opinion could have been left out, because of its seemingly unfit attempt on making this ending title a “stripper anthem” or club favorite.
Although, Wow… That’s Crazy is better than Wale’s last album, that may not be saying much, as it still fails to compare to some of his greatest projects including The Album About Nothing back in 2015. After giving his past projects another listen it did make me look back at Wow…That’s Crazy and say “meh.” This album is unable to stand on the same ranks as his most notable projects. Needless to say, he’s undeniably talented, and his ability to use his art to touch on subjects, such as Black excellence, Black struggle, women and mental health, although many will say that was only surface level, is greatly appreciated.
Ultimately, I give it a 3.5/5.
Overall, this is a necessary listen, fan or not. Not listening or listening only once before your solidified opinion further proves the notion that Wale is truly one of the most underrated and misunderstood rappers in the game right now.