CD REVIEW: Wildman by Souleye

The latest single from Souleye’supcoming album, the title song “Wildman”, will propel this powerful release to a higher level of recognition. Souleye’s customary ambitions as both a composer and lyricist come to the fore once again – the mastery of language and his facility for unraveling even the trickiest of lines as the song’s vocalist is second to none in the genre. Souleye doesn’t write or record soulless hip hop. He’s taken this often critically derided, yet commercially loved, form and elevated it past any point of reproach thanks to the depth of his skill set. It really comes across like there’s no subject matter or approach he isn’t adept at within this particular style. This is, naturally, the result of an experienced artist working at or near the peak of their powers, but Souleye remains, many albums into a significant career, a true prodigy of the style whose talents seem to expand with each new release.

The lyrics are among the best he’s ever written. It’s obvious that Souleye spends a significant amount of time culling his life and experiences for material, but his talents as a composer impose an imaginative rigor on the material that makes it more than merely confessional. “Wildman” is written in such a way that Souleye’s desire to connect and relate its experiences to his audience’s own becomes quite apparent. There’s some sophistication in his approach that many hip hop writers do not share. He delights less in wordplay for wordplay’s sake and, instead, often makes simple and direct use of longstanding literary devices to help bring his lyrics further to life. Lynx, the song’s featured starring vocalist, tackles her lines in a way one might imagine Souleye doing so and adds an extra surfeit of soul to an already deeply felt hip hop track.

It never runs on too long, fortunately, and has impeccable timing. Souleye and Lynx trade off passages much more frequently in the song’s first and last quarter, but it doesn’t meander in between and has a chiseled, yet breathing, quality many experienced listeners will recognize. The performance is relaxed and confident from parties all around. Souleye is far past the point, both as a writer and performer, where he’s going to spend any real time in the studio groping for direction. The percussion, bass, and light synth work might be handled by electronic instruments, but the song never sounds sterile or lifeless. Instead, it gives Souleye and Lynx alike a steady, stable platform for them to weave their vocal magic. “Wildman” is a strong title track for Souleye’sforthcoming full length album and proves to be a powerhouse single. Souleye’s heart and soul come irrepressibly through and entertains anyone willing to listen while challenging them to think the entire time. This isn’t just a track that hip hop fans will enjoy; anyone interested in intelligent compositions that, not incidentally, want you to move and get physical engaged with the music will value a great deal.


by William Elgin

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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