Wale’s 2019 album titled “Wow…That’s Crazy” is a perfect representation of how he lives in-between his Nigerian and American identities.
The first song, “Sue Me”, beyond his story on his problems with love also centers the Black experience in the US. He talks about how people don’t expect people like him buy things from Prada, Balenciaga, Saks, etc. which pushes him to buy more of them, yet he realizes the disconnect this creates in the social and political idea to support Black businesses. This launches the song into the chorus “Sue me, I’m rootin’ for errybody that’s Black” which solidifies the main message of Black people loving and supporting each other. This message is more so one rooted in his American experiences, yet he still manages to slip in reference to his Nigerian identity as well with the lines, “And I carried the bitterness of a kola nut / Nigerian sh*t, my parents never showed much.” The fact that this reference is tied to his parents and does not take center stage, but still has a presence, is indicative of his real lived experiences as a Nigerian-American whose ties to Nigeria exist primarily through his parents.
The next song, “Loyalty & Love”, continues this theme of blending his identities. The track itself deviates from his normal sound and adopts a Nigerian highlife tone to it. His lyrics are also no longer strictly in English but also feature bits and pieces of Yoruba in them like when he raps, “Abi, abi, abi do you hear me? / I’m like a young sunny Ade in my city / Laid back Maybach o jive fun me” [Hey, hey, hey, do you hear me? / I’m like a young sunny Ade in my city / Laid back Maybach is jiving for me]. Listening to the rest of the album continues to reveal this trend of him staying authentic to his lived experiences in the US while also finding space to insert references to Nigeria and Africa.
The ways he stretches his sound and identity in this album brings new significance to his choice of stagename. Shortening Olubowale [God came home] to Wale [Come home] is almost symbolic of the evolution through his discography of him coming home into his identities.
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