Celebrating Diversity in Music Artistry
Posted April 24, 2020
By JoshuaGalla_NRT, Staff Reviewer
What You Need To Know
WANDE, born Yewande Isola, is a promising rapper native from Nigeria and Austin, Texas (she currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia). She started as an independent hip-hop artist who eventually became an A&R (artists and repertoire) administrator at Reach Records (She signed with the label as an artist in 2019). WANDE is the label’s first female artist in its 16-year history.
Over the last four years, WANDE’s devotion to fine-tuning her craft as an emcee, singer, and overall creative has shifted her career into fast forward from being just another rapper to one of Christian hip-hop's (CHH) most elite artists. Besides an impressive two-year cycle of infectious singles, such as “I Gotta Live,” “Fuego,” “Blessed Up,” and “BAND$,” WANDE’s only other release was the 2019 two-song EP, No Limits. Exit signifies her debut album as an artist.
WANDE has worked with some of the genre's top artists, such as Datin, V. Rose, and Joey Vantes. As with many artists from Reach Records, her singles, “Be the Light” (feat. Evan and Eris Ford) and “Happy," from Exit have been featured on the nationally-televised program ESPN. Some of WANDE's previous singles have been featured on Black Entertainment Television (BET) and VH-1.
What It Sounds Like
An array of one-word expressions come to mind after a thorough listen of Exit: elegance, devotion, beauty, refinement, and reverence. WANDE’s collective array of creative forms bind together effortlessly celebrating her skillset as a vocalist and emcee. She possesses an arsenal of outlets sonically clicking together like a puzzle. Her alter ego, Blande, shines on "Iconic" and “Been Up” (featuring WHATUPRG and nobigdyl). WANDE defines this flipside version of herself as one who brings the pure hip-hop vibe.
Her vocals shine through on several tracks, including “Nice Things” (featuring Taylor Hill), “More of Me” and “Be the Light.” These tracks support the transparency found within WANDE who provides a window into her heart and mindscape behind faith and life’s obstacles. Tracks like “Happy” and “A Million Ways” (featuring Stevie Rizo) showcase WANDE’s capacity as an artist. What makes her sound quite unique is the diversity shining through.
Several producers collaborated on the album, thus bringing this project’s sound to the forefront of the industry. Ace Harris, Carvello, Taylor Hill, and others orchestrated a sound palette pleasing to ears not affixed to the standard trap music heard across the genre. People are challenged to closely listen for surprises of sound pleasant to the ear and heart.
Exit bleeds spirituality from start to finish. WANDE repeatedly speaks of the theme behind the project; every exit is an entrance. Not an end to any given path of life, but a direction to a new beginning. The light of Christ, the love of God, and how faith wraps purpose around life is an album highlight. WANDE truly is unashamed of the word of God and explicitly exclaims what relationship with Jesus represents in her daily journey.
Lyrics from “Be the Light” summarize the entire vibe of WANDE’s faith. “Born sinner, I don't mask it/Savior hopped up out the casket/So I spit His life in my lyrics, it's written/Oh no, you never gotta ask it/In the depths of the dark, gotta let it shine the most/Only in you is my boast/Died for me, oh, my Savior did the most.” This is just one of a multitude of examples throughout the project where WANDE’s faith is highlighted lyrically. She stands out as a role model, not only for females but for all Christians alike. Live loud for our faith.
Best Song On The Record
I’m personally a fan of the entire record. A skippable track doesn’t exist. I enjoy each song for a different reason. This is quite the feat for a debut album. Narrowing down to a favorite, I’d select “Wakanda.” It defines WANDE's varied artistic characteristics as a whole: the origins sound of her Nigerian roots and her talents as a seasoned lyricist. My only complaint would be the length of the track as I could easily hear WANDE spit for five to six minutes on this one.
For Fans Of
V. Rose | CASS | Phil J.
Exit represents a journey into not only faith, but vivid personalities that define WANDE. Her extended skillset as an artist, vocalist, and individual is spotlighted regardless of the track. Her energy spills over from the artistry into her personality with infectious undertones. It’s nearly impossible to not smile after any interaction with WANDE. The same is felt after listening to the album. All 10 tracks are impressive. The buffet of sounds and the diversity; all of it collected transforms into beauty through and through. WANDE’s journey has just begun and what’s to come is exhilarating to anticipate.
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