ARnold Wesley – The Understanding Part 1: Bad Habits (Mixtape Review)
The Understanding Part 1: Bad Habits (listen/download)
ARnold Wesley is a young artist here in Milwaukee that is beginning to build a name for himself. He is 21 years old and takes pride in his lyricism & story-telling abilities. He was inspired to get into music via time spent with his cousins in Chicago. He officially launched his career in January of this year. He released his debut mixtape, The Understanding Part 1: Bad Habits and has been moving full speed ahead ever since. He has gone on to do numerous shows and events throughout the state. Plus, he is beginning to garner some media attention. So what is it about this young talent that has him in the fast lane of the 414 music scene? Let’s dissect a few tracks from his premiere effort and find out.
This is the very first single on the tape. It opens with a couple of spoken words from AR and incorporates a clip of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” which was originally performed by the late great Nina Simone. But has since been redone countless times by various acts. From there, the production kicks completely in. It is of a high caliber quality. It contains: a suave foundation, fresh groovy musical components, a magnetic rhythm, and a rich vibe. The hook is fly as well. It is essentially vocals from the earlier mentioned sample with a word or two from AR in the background. The vocals are soulful and the delivery has a catchiness about it. The verses are efficient. AR exhibits a distinguished flow, ideal wordplay, and intellectual rhymes as he reflects over certain life situations that people tend to find themselves in. Some notable lines include: “She had a pole she loved the most. Portable, she take it wherever. Coast to coast. Crystal meth, cocaine, double the dose. Making her numb. When she sober the feeling is gross. (…) Do you right for that paper. Daydream while you stroke. Smartest girl that I know. Math got her to Spelman. But before she could go, dropped her pants to the floor.” Compelling way to start the track and a prime example of AR’s story-telling skills. Overall, this song is a must listen.
“Purple Blue Treez”
The production here is great. It is made up of: a low lying base, offbeat secondary elements, a creeping tempo, and a zoned out vibe. The hook is slick too. The delivery is charismatic and the lyrics are entertaining. It is only present once though. The verses are acceptable. AR enlists a turnt up flow, agile wordplay, and gritty personal rhymes. He divulges some of the hardships and struggles he’s endured as well as shows off a bit of the colorful side of his personality. A handful of lines worth mentioning are: “My generation you are not alone. My bad habits can’t leave alone. Growing up I had ups and downs. 23’s they was knock offs. Unc in jail for getting rocks off. I was just like prepaid. At least once a month trying to get topped off. I was living like a Jackson. Life was beating down on the kid. No square s–t. Trying to take me off the grid. So I reacted vicious like young Sid. Young teen selling young mid. Smoking loud in my later days. My problems I had to put ’em on delay.” Expressive introspective bars being spit right there. All in all, this is another hit.
“Preparation” F/ Ashley Duff
The production here is solid. The hushed structure, somber musical ingredients, slowed down pace, and overcast vibe meld together tastefully. The hook is legit. Ms. Duff utilizes chilling vocals and the lyrics convey an unyielding sentiment. The verses are adequate. AR serves up his token flow, established wordplay, and substantial rhymes. He takes on a darker tone as he paints some unique pictures pertaining to dealing with adversity. A few lines worth taking in are: “I was supposed to die in that ocean of sin. But it taught me to swim. So I do not cry when you criticize. Open my eyes and I realize it’s been a ball of lies. (…) Yeah I got bad habits for which I don’t apologize. I see ya jealousy. Cause I’m proving to be a monster. And that makes you scared of me. Better lock & load. Be prepared for me.” Striking thoughts being put forth in those bars. In the end, this is a noble effort.
**My Two Cents: This was my first time ever experiencing ARnold Wesley and his music. And I have to say he’s a pretty dope artist. I think he has a strong distinct flow and his rhymes are likeable. I think he fared better on some tracks than he did others as it pertains to The Understanding Part 1: Bad Habits mixtape. But as a whole, I dig the project. The production was sound, the guest features held their own, and the content was commendable. I think readers will appreciate the tape too. AR is already in the process of working on a follow up. It’s a love/lust themed offering called Nights On Water geared more towards the ladies. Be sure to keep up with AR via the above provided link for future: updates, leaks, release info, etc. -MinM