Dwele - W.ants W.orld W.omen (Advance Review) (2010)

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Balancing materialism, societal consciousness and the one-on-one love movement: it's a struggle for anyone in this world, but multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and soul crooner Dwele skillfully illustrates each aspect in his fourth and most ambitious release yet, W.ants W.orld W.omen.

Balancing materialism, societal consciousness and the one-on-one love movement: it's a struggle for anyone in this world, but multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and soul crooner Dwele skillfully illustrates each aspect in his fourth and most ambitious release yet, W.ants W.orld W.omen.

The cover probably says it all: three very divergent photos of Dwele spliced together as one, representing an informal trinity of id, ego and superego as an attempt to illustrate each aspect. Containing thirteen songs (the rest are brief introductions delineating one section from the other), a handful of well-placed guest appearances and some of the best performances in his catalog, WWW is confident in both range and delivery, starting with the gritty boom-bap flavor of the opening track, "I Wish": "I wish I had a dollar for every dollar you think I have/I wish I had a Gucci suit inside that Gucci bag." The desires aren't just for wealth and status though: "Grown" depicts what actions he's into with a young lady over a plucky club beat, and the sensual "Dim The Lights," which pairs him with R&B peer Raheem DeVaughn, could certainly school the younger ‘bang the headboard' crowd on being sexual without using vulgarity in the process: "You want my lips, on yours/ I want your hips, on me. We want this feeling to last/ always, through eternity."  "Dodging Your Phone," featuring David Banner, also showcases a couple of rap bars from the soul provider.

The World section is its shortest, but that doesn't necessarily negate its earnestness or its impact: Dwele praises his brethren through thick and thin in "My People," sings of hope and optimism with Monica Blaire and Lloyd Dwayne in the soothing "Detroit Sunshine," and depicts a world struggling with cold reality after eight years of drunken political madness and stupor in the deceptively glib-sounding "Hangover": "Young lady, who's to blame? We all played our part/ we all should've voted from the start."

The fact that the final section is the longest probably signals Dwele's comfort level with, well, Women. The percolating "Love You Right" portrays a man tearing up his playa membership card after an attempt to "hit and be on my way" turns into true love, and what could be a follow-up, the "What's Not To Love," is an adoring tribute to what draws him to his lady and why he's so privileged to have her around: "And you're not afraid to admit when you're wrong/Better yet, what about our lovemaking marathons? Girl it's making me want to head straight to Tiffany's/and slide something shiny on your finger." DJ Quik (yes, THAT one) isn't the first rapper you'd envision to get with Dwele to drop a love song, but his delivery remains as sure as ever and the two actually make a competent, if quirky, duo.

It's a well-known fact that you can't have it all, but Dwele's WWW artfully combines elements of soul and hip-hop in his quest to address the personal and political through his music. For those who thought that 2008's Sketches of a Man meandered too often, Dwele's focused finesse this time around cements his status as one of his generation's most worthy soul men and storytellers. Highly Recommended.

By Melody Charles

 

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