The title phrase of Wale’s sixth studio album, Wow… That’s Crazy, exists mostly in common parlance as conversational placeholder. We often hear it delivered by someone on the receiving end of an elaborate story, buying time to process what they’re hearing or to formulate a more insightful response. In the case of Wale’s Wow… That’s Crazy, the DC rapper is opening up about his worldview and some things in it that have been weighing on him, in a way likely to leave listeners in need of a second to process.
The album opens with “Sue Me”, on which the rapper grapples with his presence in the entertainment matrix. “Sue me, I’m rooting for everybody that’s black,” he admits. There are a number of references to his vantage point here—as it refers to the black experience specifically, including odes to black women (“BGM”, “Black Bonnie”) as well as ruminations on his responsibility as a young leader. “We just want to be black and legendary/Be us and be proud by any means necessary,” he raps on “Love Me Nina / Semiautomatic”. On the 6LACK collaboration “Expectations”, he raps, “Black man in therapy/’Cause white terror don’t sleep/I got to roll up my leaf/Might stop the PTSD.”
Another theme of Wow… That’s Crazy is the complexity of the modern relationship—one familiar to Wale fans. The Jeremih-assisted “On Chill” finds him begging for a reprieve from a relationship’s fighting, while “Set You Free” has the rapper taking responsibility for his missteps within a partnership. There’s also the Lil Durk collaboration “Break My Heart”, which gives us a rare glimpse into the guesting Chicago MC’s softer side. In addition to the aforementioned guests, Wow… That’s Crazy features Ari Lennox, Meek Mill, Jacquees and Megan Thee Stallion (among others), who all do their part to help the MC tell a story that fans can take their time with.