Souleye – Wildman
Souleye’s new single “Wildman” takes the title track to his highly anticipated studio release and unleashes it on the public in a well-deserved spotlight. Well into his second decade writing and recording music, Souleye occupies a niche in the hip hop genre that’s all his own and resulted from a trailblazing approach to merging outstanding lyrical content with across the board appealing arrangements. There’s a lot of color going into the writing of this track instead of just seeming like a vehicle for his vocal – there’s some notable dynamics at work as the song shifts from deep grooves into rousing crescendos helping to hammer home Souleye’s message. As always, however, Souleye’s messaging can never be construed as mere sloganeering. Souleye’s devotion to sharing his experiences and hope with listeners is far more important to him as an artist than following some rigid dogma and it gives even his most melancholy material an immensely attractive air of positivity.
This song has it all lyrically. Souleye has built the track around a strong chorus that features top class R&B/pop singer Lynx, who handles it with great soulfulness and care. The verses feature the usual assortment of linguistic pyrotechnics powering Souleye’s best material, but it’s never verbal fireworks just for the sake of setting some off. Everything carries meaning and some degree of thematic wake, but there is an added bonus that Souleye’s writing has such fluidity you can’t help but be entertained by his turns with language. It syncs up quite tightly with the musical mood. “Wildman” has a bit of an orchestrated feel to it, but in the best possible way – it has clearly been conceived as a whole, rather than separate threads needing tied together, and the backing track, vocals, and lyrics complement each other in both mood and form.
There’s no wasted time in a Souleye song. “Wildman” never rushes things, but he develops the track at just the right pace and never loses focuses with extended musical passages. There isn’t a single extraneous word found in the lyrics as well – he comes across as an artist who, when embarking on this project, knew exactly what he wanted to say and how to do it. “Wildman” reflects that level of confidence during every second of its duration. It isn’t ever a strident or wearisome track. The swagger present on this song comes from hearing an artist nearing or at his peak lean into a performance with the loose bravado of someone who understands what they’ve gotten do to leave a mark on you. It’s an excellent choice for a single and Souleye’s career, even after over two decades since he first felt the pull to become a writer and performer, still appears to have to limits on its potential. This is an excellent representative effort from an equally excellent album and one of the best hip hop tracks you’ll hear in 2017.