Olubowale Victor Akintimehin better known as Wale is an American rapper. He was born on September 21st, 1984 in Northwest, Washington, D.C.. Both of his parents are Nigerian. Throughout his career, Wale has represented the US and Nigeria within his music. He has done collaborations with prominent Nigerian artists like Wizkid, Don Jazzy, Olamide, Reekado Banks, Rotimi, Wande Coal, and many more!
In 2019, Wale came out with his sixth studio album, Wow… That’s Crazy. Wale said that this album is one of his most personal projects and is unapologetically black. I believe his first two songs on the album, “Sue Me” and “Love and Loyalty”, perfectly express his American identity and his Nigerian identity.
“Sue Me” is a song about being proud to be black and embracing the beauty within black people and black culture and black pride. Some of the lyrics that stood out to me were, “And I carried the bitterness of a kola nut Nigerian shit, my parents never showed much”, “Sue me, I’m rootin’ for everybody that black”, and “Those women are queens”. If you’re Nigerian you know that kola nuts are known for their bitterness and are usually brought out on special occasions like wedding ceremonies. This is one way Wale represents Nigeria in this song. Then when he talks about rootin for everyone that is black and saying black women are queens, he is loudly supporting black culture, black business, and admiring black women. Unfortunately, he also had to highlight black struggles as well. In America, African Americans get racially profiled all the time and Wale expressed this issue through the music video for “Sue Me’. But instead of a black teenager, it was a white teenager being profiled. He wanted people to walk in the lives of African Americans and visually see what we go through.
“Love and Loyalty” is a more upbeat song than “Sue Me” and it features another Nigerian-American artist, Mannywellz. Some lines that stood out to me were,” I’m like a young Sunny Ade in my city”, “Omo jaiye, the gods always guiding me”, “Haha, so make una leave me I play my music oh”. King Sunny Ade is an influential Nigerian singer/songwriter and is one of the first global African pop artists. “Omo Jaiye” is Yoruba for someone who chops(enjoys) life to the fullest and Nigerians are known to be very religious and traditional. “Make una…oh” is pidgin English that Africans use as slang. Wale easily expresses his Nigerian identity in his songs, regardless of the beat or who is featured in the song.
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