Today’s Breaks examines Wale‘s album release, plus the alley-oop thrown to House Studio by Kendrick Lamar‘s To Pimp a Butterfly. Also included is a new GoldLink video and a Wu-Tang Clan ode courtesy of Kaimbr.
Wale’s Big Moment
Wale’s potentially career-defining fourth album, The Album About Nothing, is finally here. Accompanying the release was the video for the album’s third track, “The White Shoes.” Anyone who remembers Hate Is the New Love’s “Kicks” or follows his references to sneakers understands his level of appreciation, but this song is more about the link between material possessions and self-worth.
“Take this good advice/If they’re gonna judge you for life/Say we can’t always be fly/We gon’ be good, as long as them sneakers white,” he sings on the song’s hook. The video, directed by Walu, depicts the value people place on things like sneakers—-and what some will do for them.
Kaimbr’s Wu-Tang Homage
Of all the beats created by Wu-Tang Clan’s production team, some of the best ones were simple loops of old-school soul music—from the likes of Al Green, Baby Huey, and Teddy Pendergrass—on which the clansmen would spit nonstop about botched drug deals and organized crime. It seemed like a simple formula on the surface, yet somehow, it worked: There wasn’t much background noise to get in the way of Raekwon’s throaty New York accent and Ghostface Killah’s high-pitched falsetto.
Out this week, another Al Green (aka Prince George’s County rapper Kaimbr) released a video for “Welcome Home,” the first single from his forthcoming album, Bronze Horse, out Tuesday. On the LP, Kaimbr—under the moniker “Wu-Kaimb”—rhymes atop reconstructed Wu-Tang samples. “Welcome Home” begins with a brief intro from Low Budget crew member Kev Brown. From there, the track shifts into a head-nodding groove and Kaimbr offers a quick verse that touches on his time away from music: “Pardon my posting, I was lost and tryna focus/When you involved in more shit, and I’m supposed to heed the advice, who’s sick.” The video itself is pretty straightforward: Shot by Digital Hustle Films, Kaimbr performs the song in various outdoor scenes. Watch it below. —Marcus J. Moore
Sober Thoughts, Enticing Visuals
Last summer, GoldLink released the excellent track “Sober Thoughts” without much fanfare. Produced by Kaytranada, the song is reminiscent of Midnight Marauders-era A Tribe Called Quest, all the way down to its spaced-out, rhythmic slap. Similar to last year’s video for “Ay Ay,” the “Sober Thoughts” visuals take cues from BET Uncut.
Per usual, GoldLink is physically absent, serving as the narrator. Overall, this ode to vices emanates a strong April vibe: It sounds great during torrential downpours and on sunny days. It may have come out last summer, but it still works for this spring. —JK
A Good Look for House Studio
I’m a proud music junkie. I’m the dude who can tell you exactly how long my favorite albums are and at what minute-mark the crescendo kicks in. I read liner notes to see who produced what and who’s singing background. So imagine my surprise when House Studio founder/CEO Yudu Gray, Jr. brought my attention to this nugget: North Carolina producer 9th Wonder recorded Rapsody’s verse for Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly at House Studio in Hyattsville. You know, that Kendrick, on that album. That’s a huge look for the already renowned space. “We got a call saying 9th was looking to get in the studio on a random-ass night,” Gray says in an email. “At the time, we didn’t know it was for Rapsody, but it was dope to see them both come through. I think they were already in the D.C. area and just looking for a dope studio spot to record a classified verse.”
Rapsody and 9th worked quickly: “One and done,” Gray writes. “I know Rapsody wanted to hear it loud, so the vibe of the studio and speakers were all that was needed. A&R Vic got Rapsody her favorite candy during the session, which always helps.” Among other things, To Pimp A Butterfly addresses Kendrick’s journey through self-doubt en route to a stronger self-image. It encourages black men to be proud, despite senseless killings by police officers.
“As a fan of hip-hop, it’s amazing to be a part of such a special project,” Gray concludes. “As a black man, it’s something I can tell my kids one day: ‘You know ‘Complexion’ was recorded at our studio, right?’ As a studio, it shows the rest of the world that artists can come to D.C. and record at the highest level with House Studio.” Listen to “Complexion” below. —MJM