Album - ShineArtiste - WaleRecord Label - Maybach Music Group (2017)Duration- 55 minutes

When Wale released the tracklist of his “Shine” album, everyone screamed their hearts out. Nigerians especially, seeing that three Nigerians made the cut. Wizkid, Davido and Olamide were all involved in the project, with the last two getting a song of their own with Wale.

Wale has always never strayed too far from his Nigerian roots. The US rapper has his ancestory from the African country, and where previously he has worked with artists from Nigeria on their projects, he has not had enough of his personal projects with Nigerians. But all of that is changing. On his 5 studio album, “Shine”, he grabs three of them, and effectively placed them on the project.

The buildup to the release of the project has been steady. The singles have shown that Wale is dropping all of his signature emotional and self-reflective style for something more sensory. The good vibes is what the singer is selling on this project, and he does that admirably by dabbling into untraditional rap sounds to make it happen.

There’s EDM goodness and tropical strings on ‘My love’, supplied by Major Lazer, and assisted by Wizkid and Dua Lip. ‘Fine Girl’ which has Davido and Olamide hugs the Reggaeton vibe carefully, with infusion of Nigerian pidgin English and a Yoruba post-chorus. ‘Columbia Heights’ (Te Llamo) has singer-rapper J Balvin on it. These are the songs that define this project.

It’s a great project for vibes. Everything is light, breezy and simple. Just like Wale promised. It’s a great departure from his core rap style, one that is designed to appeal to a wider audience, and also give him a market share of the emerging Hip-hop crowd seeking to fuse the game with diverse sounds, via progressive production and songwriting.

Although not all are distant. ‘Mathematics’, ‘Fish N Grits’ and ‘CC White’, still retain aspects of Wale that keep him grounded in his first love. But they are not the point. The point of this project has already been accomplished. Say hello to the groovy Wale.

Rating: 3.5/5


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