Free Music Download: Wale & DJ Luna - "Before I Shine"
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 09:59:38
On May 5th Wale is set to release his follow-up to his 2015 album, The Album About Nothing. His upcoming studio release is called SHiNE, and so it makes sense the teaser, released this week in anticipation of the new collection, is called Before I SHiNE.
The mix arrives under a shadow of Kendrick Lamar's new album DAMN., and it's a tough shadow to avoid. Music press, rightfully, shine all their lights on Lamar and tend to overlook other events on the stage. However, Wale holds his corner well and the mixtape serves as a smart reminder of his penmanship. Here his lyrics are in sharp focus and his beats are super-easy to step into.
Across these ten tracks there are, of course, stronger moments than others, and while continuity sometimes suffers (this IS a mixtape so sequencing isn't always key) there are surprises and moments of real brilliance.
"Stay Winning" doesn't sound much like your expectations of a Wale track — but it's good, it's highly danceable and the spirit is set on "Uplifting". Afro B and Sneakbo feature, there's some highlife guitar that echo African influence, and a bassline that may well require a new insurance policy for the foundation of the building you're listening in.
Other elements of the mix arrive left of center — "Her Wave" is perhaps the most realized of all the material here. Wale flows, almost easily, over a soothing beat, as second and third vocal tracks add harmonic layers. Here we are heading into easy listening territory — and just when you think you need to shake your head and rethink where this is all heading "Shape Of You" — a remix of the Ed Sheeran track jostles into place and you go with it. Regardless of your previous opinions of Sheeran or Wale — the two artist's influence on this sequence of beats, breaks and lyrics offers a moment to pause and reassess every element. Wale works wonders with this thing.
Fans of Wale will remember a perceived moment of disrespect from J. Cole on his track "False Prophets" that suggest Wale wasn't all that accomplished. Here, on "Groundhogs Day (J.Cole Response)" Wale addresses the insults he felt, not by fighting — but by continuing to undermine himself with a series of self-deprecating quips that echo J. Cole's message. It's ironic, but the aggression, confidence and skills on display show a rawness that bring the best of the rapper.
Before I SHiNE may not be the release that you're hurrying to listen to this week, but it's a strong subtext to the upcoming album. As a free download, and with some backstory that will sit well in the 'play next' category when SHiNE finally arrives, this mix is a more than half-decent release of pleasing beats, interesting reflections and a smart document of the rapper's role in the game of 2017.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff