Wale’s newest EP The Imperfect Storm embodies the phrase, “There Goes The Neighborhood” as he gives his thoughts and opinions on the state of his country, culture, and community with poetic, political, and powerful lyrics. Recorded in just two weeks, subjects such as the deaths caused by police brutality, the social impact of Black Lives Matter, and the appropriation of Black culture are lyricized throughout The Imperfect Storm composed of six tracks in an eighteen-minute span.
The Imperfect Storm begins with “MOVIN' DIFFERENT” featuring singer-songwriter McClenney. “MOVIN' DIFFERENT” sets the tone of the EP with its lyrical themes about the protests and riots that have occurred recently and how they’ve helped and hurt individuals and reasoning behind why they continue. Wale shares his personal views on the actions taken on social injustice issues, “MOVIN' DIFFERENT” as he states:
“My niggas want peace so my niggas want problems / I never lack passion, I maybe lack knowledge / Celebrate the progress, that's how we mobbin' / We was movin' targets and niggas moved Target”
"EMPTY WISHING WELL"
Following “MOVIN' DIFFERENT”, the second track titled, “EMPTY WISHING WELL” featuring Eric Bellinger, embraces pure quarantine vibes where he expresses his feelings with a significant other while referencing the stay-at-home order, Instagram’s Verzuz battles, and The Last Dance docuseries. Based on the amount of time and space that Wale has with his lover, he explains the stress it can cause between one another. The songs’ chorus captures the emotions from the issues that Wale describes as Eric Bellinger sings:
"Time will only tell and the times ain't doin' too much / Time will only tell if it's real or if it's not/ We'll be feelin' like we out of space / 'Til we feelin' like we probably need space / Time will only tell / Empty wishing well"
"BLUE YELLOW GREEN PINK WHITE"
Sampling DJ Casper’s “Cha Cha Slide” the third track titled, “BLUE YELLOW GREEN PINK WHITE”, incorporates traditional D.C. go-go elements and speaks on being unprejudiced towards those from different ethnicities while showcasing lyrical punchlines.
“Look, blue, yellow, green, pink, white / I ain't 'bout to judge, muhfucker, live life”
"JUNE 5th / QueenZnGodZ"
Marking the day that the Minneapolis City Council vowed to 'dismantle' the police department, “JUNE 5TH” speaks on how black culture has been appropriated in music and sports despite treating black people as less. In addition to this, Wale references the divide between white and black America with how sides view one another. Noting terms and phrases like 12, Karen, and “Shut Up And Dribble”, he speaks on how these subjects have affected both races in negative ways. The songs’ hook question on the envy and impact black culture has been in America as Wale raps:
"Okay, who black, who black, who black, who not? / I know you mad, you mad, they mad they not / We the sports and the music, do the math, we the culture / And I gotta ask of you, what have you brought?"
At the end of the song, Wale gives his respect to Rayshard Brooks and concludes with a speech given by Black Lives Matter activist, Tamika Mallory. It references a message used from one of her marches against racial inequality after the death of George Floyd.
On “QueenZnGodZ” Wale shows his support for black women comparing them to queens and goddesses’, similar to his previous single “BGM”. The song praises black women for their strength and support for one another and others throughout everything that’s been going on in the country. At the end of the track, Wale pays his respect rapper and model, Chynna Rogers, and TV screenwriter and hip-hop journalist, Jas “Jasfly” Waters, who both died earlier this year.
"SHIT DON’T STOP"
On “SHIT DON’T STOP” featuring Eric Bellinger, Wale speaks on the never-ending battles with racism that Black Lives Matter fights against. Regardless of the issues in America, Wale responds to them with we can’t and won’t stop attitude on “SHIT DON’T STOP”. At the end of the song, Wale pays his respect to Black Lives Matter activist, Oluwatoyin Ruth “Toyin” Salau who disappeared on June 6, 2020, shortly after tweeting about being sexually assaulted.
“I'm still here 'cause somebody prolly prayed for me / Twelve here, well, somebody better pray for me / Hard to move but I know that shit don't stop”
To conclude The Imperfect Storm, the sixth track titled “MAAJO” incorporates traditional African drums paying homage to his Nigerian background. Exhibiting his vintage lyrical style of sports and pop culture references such as the late wrestler Shad Gaspard, COVID-19, and Ja Morant as Wale displays his talents bar for bar; the D.C. native proves once again that he’s a top-tier lyricist and addresses the issues that remain and continue to grow in America.
"And the Law never with us / Jobs gettin' slimmer, block gettin' thicker / The cops ain't vigilant / let's see if you payin' attention"
Overall, The Imperfect Storm summarizes the current political climate and showcases Wale’s perspective not only as an artist but a black man. As he gives his unfiltered thoughts and opinions about the state of America on his EP, Wale continues the conversations on the controversy that has yet to be resolved.
Stream and listen to The Imperfect Storm below.