This week, Wale explains his role with the Washington Wizards and Marcus J. Moore returns to discuss a new video from Drew Dave, plus new music from Kokayi and Terracotta Blue.
Wale Expands His Horizons
While readying his fourth album, The Album About Nothing, Wale is also dabbling in other non-music-related ventures. Last fall, the Washington Wizards hired him as the team’s “creative liason,” meaning he’d serve in an auxiliary marketing role, doing performances and social media promotions. In ESPN The Magazine, the D.C. rapper expounded on the role, saying he wants to be a “shot in the arm to D.C. basketball.”
“My job is to provide a spark, at all costs,” he said. “I’m not going to do anything corny, but I’m talking to Kanye about designing new uniforms. I want to see the phone booth rocking every time I come here. I want to create the ‘Lake Show,’ create what the Bulls had. I want to take the personality of our stars—-John [Wall], Otto [Porter], Marcin [Gortat]—-and create what Kemp and Payton had, what LeBron and D-Wade had. That’s the vibe I want.”
Although Kanye’s fashion aspirations are well-documented, Wale bringing him on as a designer seems unlikely, and no one knows the extent of their conversation. Regardless, it remains an ambitious goal, one that proves that Wale is aiming high in his new role.
Aside from working on TAAN, Wale’s tour in advance of the album continues.
A new version of “Tonight (Suite 331),” the fifth track on Festivus, also surfaced this week, featuring a verse from Dino B.A.M.
In the meantime, it’s back to the rigors and frustrations of working on the most important album of his career. —Julian Kimble
Trimming album down .. I hate it ..
— Wale Folarin (@Wale) January 22, 2015
I don’t remember how I came across producer Drew Dave’s music, but I’m glad I did. His 2011 album, Mumbo Sauce and Drumbreaks, came out of nowhere as a brassy, rhythmic collection of throwback soul complete with Ohio Players-inspired cover art. Dave (formerly known as Soulful!) has only gotten better from there: His beat for Pro’Verb’s “Too Hip-Hop” was just as emotive as the rhymes on top of it; “Get It and Go” was an edgy canvas for Rob Regal’s meditative, money-themed flows. Last year, Dave offered a nuanced soundtrack for he and Doe Cigapom’s impressive full-length LP, Life As We Know It.
On Feb. 24, Dave will release a new mostly instrumental LP, SynthBASED, which is far more electronic than his previous work. The album’s first single, “FullCircle,” plays like a feel-good composition, and the video—released Thursday—harbors that same technique. Director Jay Brown “wanted to mimic the concept of the instrumental,” Dave writes in an email. “The instrumental is solely based off the beatbox in the beginning. And it gradually builds up as other instruments come in: the bass line, guitar, keys, tambourine, vocals, and other elements. It gradually decreases back into just me beatboxing at the end, bringing it back to ‘square one.’”
“So Jay wanted to capture that concept, by starting out with just me walking solo in an alley,” Dave continues. “I then meet up with some friends, until we get to the end of the alley and part ways, leaving me by myself again—all while having the lights around me flicker to certain rhythms. So the elements of the video build up and revert back to the beginning, just like the track does.”
You heard Dave. Now watch the video.—Marcus J. Moore
Playing a Part
While you weren’t looking, rapper/producer/singer/everything-man Kokayi uploaded a new song to his Soundcloud page every day last year. Some were transitional fare; others were full-fledged jams that deserved your attention, like “Part of It,” which Kokayi uploaded Dec. 31. “‘Part of It’ is about humanity as a collective being responsible for things that transpire in our society,” the musician tells Arts Desk. “We as a society have left our choices to other people and are rather flippant about the power we yield. We as a society have opted, in the face of flight or fight reactions, to ostrich. We’ll stand there and poke our heads in the dirt and opt for someone else to do it—for others to protest, for others to vote, ad nauseum.”
“’Part of It,’” Kokayi concludes, is “a continuation on my infatuation with juxtaposition that started with Pro Deo et Patria—how to write really sad songs over upbeat/catchy music.” —MJM
We recently wrote about “DreamVintage (Part 1),” a chillwave rap tune created by Silver Spring producer Terracotta Blue. This week, he released the track’s second installment, “DreamVintage (Part 2),” which is a bit more spacious than its predecessor. “I wanted to mess around and freak something in ⅞,” the composer says. “You don’t hear a lot of songs in that time signature.” Terracotta says he’ll add another track to parts 1 and 2 and release an EP in the coming months. In the meantime, “DreamVintage (Part 2)” is definitely worth your time.—MJM
Wale photo by Darrow Montgomery