Souleye – Follow Your Heart
Southern California based hip-hop songwriter and performer Souleye has established himself as one of the brightest stars in his genre in a way few other artists ever dare approach. His newest single “Follow Your Heart” carries on the work he’s done with eight studio albums and numerous other works in promoting a different version of rap and hip hop that places an approachable sound and intelligent, positive lyrical content above the genre’s usual assortment of poses and clichés. This mode of working has proven an excellent fit for him and has ensured that his place in the history of the form is quite secure, but this isn’t an artist content to rest on his legacy or laurels. Instead, “Follow Your Heart” is infused with the same poetic and insightful lyrical energy that has defined all of his work and shows clear signs that he continues to grow and evolve.
This isn’t rose-colored airy-fairy nonsense that he puts forward lyrically. Instead, the words for the song come from a place deep within and make a number of important statements while still serving the song. His phrasing never becomes too assertive or tries to dominate the music and, as a result, both the vocal and arrangement seem to come together as sympathetic parts of a larger whole rather than clashing or working against one another. Despite his idiosyncratic way of putting things, Souleye’s words and images are always quite accessible.
The music is equally accessible. Souleye keeps things relatively simple and doesn’t give the listeners anymore than what they can handle sonically. It primarily revolves around percussion and synthesizers/keyboards, but those possible limitations impose no limits at all. Instead, the lean arrangement emphasizes the focus and intensity that he brings to every recording and performance. The arrangement also crescendos at just the right time and the chorus is particularly memorable. Souleye keeps things moving in a straight line from the opening to the end and resists any temptation for excursions or side trips that might adversely affect the song’s quality.
“Follow Your Heart” speaks directly to the hopes and experiences that many share with compelling rhythms that will provoke listeners to move and draw them deeper into the spirit of the song. Souleye’s work is born from experiences and profound reflection about what he wants his place to be in the musical world and the impact that he wants to leave on his audience. Songs like “Follow Your Heart”, despite whatever initial impressions his audience might form based on the title alone, doesn’t offer simple solutions to complex feelings. Instead, the song acknowledges life’s difficulties and encourages us all that those obstacles are worth overcoming at any cost because surmounting them enriches our life, the lives of those who love us, and promises a brighter future. Anyone who enjoys physical, unpretentious music and substantive lyrical content from a expert vocalist will find much to love and admire in “Follow Your Heart”.
William Elgin III