Itzme Review: Alex Wiley – Village Party

“Bout to bring that turn up to your city.” Lyrics vividly describe the objective of Alex Wiley’s music. Wiley’s a Chicago rapsinger, using one of the standout styles of Chicago hip-hop music. People are getting hip to him gradually, and there are two sharply contrasting viewpoints on him: total adoration or disapproval, the latter being related to his word choice. That’s a concern for someone else though.

Village Party is a tracklist tailor-made for live performances. It’s filled with hype stadium-entrance type songs and catchy chants you can see a huge crowd of people singing along to. Therein lies the strength and the weakness to Village Party. It’s super-fun to listen, sing, dance, and rapsing along to. “See the Day” is going to get that body moving, “Ideas” is will get the crowd hopping and bopping, “Ova” will have somebody doing the cooking dance. It’s fun as hell, but one-dimensional.

Some of the tracks are a bit less hype and more ambient, but the general feeling is still the same. The subjects of the songs aren’t concise, and generally graze over the same few topics like unsupportive homies from around the way, him being a sick rapper (which isn’t untrue skillwise), and not digging labels much. As a result, listeners just hear a super rapping-singing machine and not much of the real Wiley and his personality.

To elaborate on the “super rapping-singing” part, Wiley is just a supreme vocalist. His flow is transcendent. His singing voice is pretty good, and is used effectively throughout this tape (and really any other song I’ve heard him on). He uses a sprechgesang technique reminiscent of other Chicago rappers, but does it in a way that really makes him stand out.

Personally, I’d like to see him use this talent to fill out his songs more. Village Party’s songs are ridiculously short, and even with that duration seem to have one really high and exciting part of the song. Then the rest of the formula is some catchy part and a chant or ad-libs to pad it out. For instance, “Ova” which is super catchy and has an impressive melody, barely hits a minute without an abundance of “aye”’s at the begging and end of the song.

Overall Village Party is a relatively good and fun album. It fits perfectly well as a playlist for his live performances. I can’t imagine anyone not having a good time at a Wiley show listening to these. However, it falls short on the versatility end and doesn’t show much depth.

Cool enough.

My Favorites: “Ova”, “#takeoff #takeoff”, “Vibration”