Alex Wiley is the up an coming artist from the city of Chicago. As a part of the ever-emerging youth movement out of the Windy City we were excited to hear what Mr. Wiley had to offer on his latest project Village Party and decided it would be the perfect choice for this week’s Ether Report.
For most of us this was our introduction to Alex. We got a whiff of him on fellow Chicagoan Chance The Rapper’s “Window” from 10 Day. He’s part of the new Chicago movement along with the likes of Chance, Vic Mensa, Chief Keef, Mick Jenkins, etc and hosts a crew of his own named The Village along with Kembe X, who has a few guest features on the album.
Fromt the intro, Alex Wiley makes it pretty clear that Village Party isn’t going to be your average mixtape. The intro sounds like three songs in one and gives us every element that we’re supposed to live on from this project. Village Party is experimental, conceptual, unpredictable, and driven by feeling.
The obvious highlight from the album is the feel good banger “Vibrations,” a cut that captures the essence of Village Party with Alex’s untamed delivery and the multi-genred production which features elements of rock, reggae, trance, and hip hop. The song’s message preaches integrity and postivity and is full of quotables.
“I only fuck with good vibrations I don’t even see the lows
Tunnel vision to the paper, I don’t even see you hoes
If she got good energy then motherfuck her body count
Aunthenticity I need so please don’t change on my account”
The captivating hook was set to some fiercely independent verses where Alex tosses the criticisms of his detractors to the side and gives us an even more interesting quotable:
“Act stupid enough and they’ll sign you.”
We’ll let you sit with that one.
Another favorite was “Ideas (Adderall).” “Ideas” deals with Alex’s well documented condition of ADD. It’s been said that his case of Attention Deficit Disorder got so bad that it forced Wiley out of high school. The production is the clear star here infusing sounds from heavy metal with tempos that make it attractive to a hip hop head before turning to jazz in it’s closing. We noted that it brought up nostalgia dating back to the days of Lil Jon’s Crunk movement, and I’ll be damned if I sit still to this – it forces you to vibe with it. The hook is Alex’s condition in words:
“Tried to sit still,
Go through ideas
No reruns on ideas
Roll up my pills
Hollup, I’m here
Hollup, I’m here”
His condition won’t allow for him to focus, and although it may have been the catalyst for a lot of the experimentation on Village Party, I have to say it might have been a reason for its setbacks as well.
Village Party is all over the place. I can’t recall a certain verse (aside from “Vibrations” and “Ova”) that stuck with me or really gave me a piece of Alex Wiley in rap form, and through all of the experiments here that’s still a very important piece of this rap thing. The verses on “Ideas” don’t expand on a hook other than supporting the theory that ADD is on display on what was shaping up to be a great song all the way through. “#takeoff #takeoff” was Wiley going through those ideas in real time, and “Splash Game” was Alex letting us know that we shouldn’t blame ourselves for not understanding his sporadic thought process.
“You don’t understand me, that’s understandable.”
We noted “Splash Game” as another song where there was a lot going on and the music provides you the right vibration, but there wasn’t much to be taken away from it outside of the ADD concept. It was like Wiley threw his bunch of paint at the wall to see what would stick.
He’s been compared to Chance The Rapper because of their similar raspy vocal inflections. If that’s the case then the sporadic Village Party is Alex Wiley’s “Adderall Rap” to the Chance’s trippy “Acid Rap.“
Alex Wiley is a representation of what music has become in 2014 – unpredictable, experimental, and unapologetic. He experiments with every genre from heavy metal to reggae, he channels the spirits of every movement from boom bap to Based, and he’s not afraid to take risks vocally. The album lives and dies with his condition of ADD. It’s clear that the condition has given him the ability to draw upon the many different influences that compliment the texture of the album, but that same thing is what leaves it lacking in substance.
As a consensus we gave Alex Wiley’s Village Party an Ether Report Card of a 7.78.