One Day Everything Changed

Artist: Wale OyejideTitle: One Day Everything ChangedRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Paine

Wale Oyejide is the real name of the artist formerly known as Science Fiction. Last year his spring release of Walls Don’t Exist, made for a fabulous album. Rich musical texture with strong emotion proved it a true jumping off point for Radiohead and Nirvana fans to find their way into a new breed of instrumental Hip-Hop Wale coined as “broken Jazz.” A short EP followed, with a remix featuring one of MF DOOM’s finest verses in fifteen years, and the hardcore Hip-Hop also turned to look to Wale’s art. Now, a year and a half later, the update and next chapter in Wale’s musical commentary on life comes with a title reflecting perhaps a new emotional side.

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A native Nigerian, this album almost immediately reveals that nationalist sense in Wale’s work. The percussion and complex rhythms found in this album dabble with Afro-Beat, and simply reek of a nativity that few other producers can add to their work. “There’s a War Going On”, featuring one of Jay Dee’s finest appearances in ages, has an outstanding commentary on wars in general, and perhaps on modern American society. The singing-which Wale did a little of on his debut-is outstanding. The Roots and Djinji Brown fans need to check this out. Other messages and issues are addressed such as “Third World Anthem” which not only represents Africa to the fullest, but features uplifting female singing that projects the kind of positive spirit of classic Reggae and Dub. A stronger Rock stance is tucked in places like, “Damn James.” If the tempo were slower, this gem could easily be classified to many as Funk. However if the tempo dropped, it wouldn’t be Wale. “This is Dedicated To” reunites Wale and DOOM. The effort serves as a fabulous follow-up, with DOOM’s verse dedicated to KMD partner and brother, Subroc. Also look for a fabulous singing effort from Wale. The only moments where the music grows uncertain are places like, “Give It Up” which is a bit awkward song of seduction, that’s very improvisational sounding. Not to be overlooked are the hidden remixes on the album, from Jay Dee on the beat.

Musically, Wale’s taken broad steps in honing his broken Jazz sound. Wale doesn’t hesitate to update parts of an older track too. “Ever After (Part 2)” adds some strut to the very vulnerability that Wale revealed on the last album. A much funkier drum arrangement and organ accents bring this update to life. The title track even uses the same percussion Quik used Truth Hurts’ “Addictive” single, to create a much more obvious Hip-Hop sensibility. The singing that glides through the tracks from Wale reflects much stronger devotion to the culture, while still using altered mediums of Soul, Rock, and Funk. Clubbers and lovers should have no problem putting the rhythms and hooks of this album to use. Roy Ayers will be proud when he hears this.

While Walls Don’t Exist was at times a dark, bitter, record of strong release and avenging spirit, this is not. It’s almost as if Wale has climbed to the top of the mountain to tell others how to overcome. From his issues of unity and celebration, to his stance on war and loss, this is an evolved man and a sound taken with him. “Wasting Time” and “Ibadan Sunrise” also reveal a sense of rejoice and pleasure with life that conventional Hip-Hop seems to lack all too often right now. “One Day Everything Changed” has a mature sensibility that makes it appealing to many age groups, many attitudes, and many spirits. This is a Hip-Hop album for the spirit, and ill at that.

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