Goapele — Break of Dawn
Break of Dawn is Goapele’s first release since 2005’s Change It All, as well as her debut on Decon Records. Despite several years between projects (most likely to focus on motherhood and other stuff), Goapele doesn’t disappoint. Break of Dawn is dreamy and soulful, both signature sounds that fans have come to love and expect, but with a touch of trip-hop added to the mix. The entire project is worthy of a thorough listen and repeat from beginning to end, then another repeat, and again. Mothers will especially appreciate “Hush”—an ode to Goapele’s daughter—led by chimes, heavy bass and drums, and Goapele’s mellifluous voice singing, “You know I love you, I’d climb over mountains with my hands if I had to, anything for you/Baby believe me, I hope you can see that your mama loves you.” Also check out “Tears on My Pillow,” a guitar-heavy tune about unrequited love, and “For Love,” where Goapele sings about not giving up on finding the one. It’s all about love but from different angles.
Wiz Khalifa — O.N.I.F.C.
There’s a few things we all know about Wiz Khalifa: he’s rich, cocky, and he likes to smoke insane amounts of weed. Within the first few minutes of listening to O.N.I.F.C., we’re reminded once again. O.N.I.F.C. is the follow up to 2011’s Rolling Papers, which was a hit with the masses. But don’t get too excited this time around. O.N.I.F.C. isn’t terrible, but lyrically, it’s more of the same. However, top-notch production from Drumma Boy, Pharrell Williams, and more makes the materialism galore go down a bit easier.
Wu-Tang Clan and D-Block — Wu Block
Wu Block is a 1990s hip-hop head’s dream. The Wu-Tang Clan and D-Block have joined forces for this collaborative project (that really should have happened in ’98, but whatever), and it’s all kinds of head-noddy goodness. Translation: Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, Method Man, Sheek Louch, Styles P, Raekwon and… sorry, I’m trying to contain myself, because I fit into said group of hip-hop fans. Anyway, the album is soulful but hardcore, and it’s evident that there was actually some thought put into the lyrical content. It’s not exactly progressive content, but with tracks like “Been Robbed,” which is calling out the pseudo drug kingpin rappers (*glares at Rick Ross and company*), and metaphorical narratives like “Stella” and “Crack Pot Stories,” it’s hard to not fall in love. You want a break from electro-hip-pop and rappers trying to sing knowing they have no business engaging in such activities? Not into skinny jeans and silly dances? Not about that chilling on a yacht life? Then Wu Block is for you. Just writing about the album gives me the urge to put on Timberlands with a flight jacket and swig some 99 Banana straight from the bottle. This album is like the pre-gentrified version of hip-hop.
Wayne Wonder — My Way
Reggae vet Wayne Wonder is back on the scene with his gazillianth studio album (seriously, dude’s been dropping music since the late 1980s), My Way. My Way offers a more dancehall vibe but there’s also some pop sprinkled in, as noted in “Drop it Low,” in addition to the lovers’ rock flare that fans have come to love; think new millennium Gregory Isaacs. It’s also important to note that this is Wayne Wonder’s first album in five years, which makes it a crucial return to the game. There’s nothing remarkably profound about the album, as he talks about loving, clubbing, sexing and pretty girls—all things we’ve come to expect. But fans won’t be disappointed, especially because he meshes genres and content well. My Way doesn’t sound forced, and mellow grooves like “Xtra Ordinary,” “If I Ever” (featuring Mya), and “This Time” reflect the Jamaican crooner’s signature passionate style that make the ladies swoon.
Starrene Rhett Rocque is a pop culture junky who often fantasizes about becoming a shotgun toting b-movie heroine, and aspires to save the world from the impending #ZombieApocolypse… In reality she’s a freelance entertainment journalist/blogger who muses about music, TV, movies and love. Follow her on Twitter@GangStarrGirl.