Han's Hip-Hop Report: The Real Dwele
2010 seems a world away and many of its musical offerings have already been eclipsed by the incessant wave of new material. There are, however, certain albums that should remain in heavy rotation and be recognised for their significance and creativity. The soulful, social commentary, ‘W.ants W.orld W.omen’, by Detroit’s Dwele certainly belongs to this category...
The album considers the realties of life and love for our generation and is demonstrative of the various conflicting aspects of the modern world. Dwele took some time from his hectic tour schedule to reflect on the eclectic project with The Wrap Up’s Hannah O’Connor in this interview to mark the one-year anniversary of the album!
The Wrap Up: ‘W.ants W.orld W.omen’ was a different style of album for you, so how did your approach to the last album differ from previous projects?
Dwele: In past projects, I just always made songs. When it was time to create an album, I'd pick the songs, place them together and make a story, then whatever the holes were, I'd fill them in with new songs. Then I'd listen to the body of work collectively and pick out a title. With this album, I had a concept of actually making it in three different sections before I started creating most of the songs. So, I kept myself in a box but I think it works.
TWU: Absolutely! But is there anything that you would improve upon for future projects?
Dwele: There’s always something I can improve upon. If it was up to me, albums would never come out because I always hear something that I could change. I'm blessed with the right people around me that know when to snatch the album from me when it needs to be snatched.
TWU: Is there any particular track that stood out to you?
Dwele: I'd probably have to say, off of the ‘Wants’ section, one of my favourite songs was ‘Dodgin’ Your Phone’. Off of the ‘World’ section, it was probably the song I did with Monica Blaire called 'Detroit Sunrise' and off of the ‘Women’ section, my favourite was 'I Understand'.
TWU: Any particular reason?
Dwele: ‘Dodgin’ Your Phone’ was just a different approach. When I did that song, I was in the studio when I made the music for it and originally I was just messing around and I was actually rhyming. I decided to turn it into a vocal song but I still wanted that vibe, so I felt like David Banner would have been a good look for it. ‘Detroit Sunrise’ was one of the songs that I always want to wake up listening to. I tried to make that song that every radio station in Detroit could play at 6 o'clock in the morning and wake people up. I tried to cover all the bases with it and make that ‘good-morning-wake-up-get-your-coffee music’ right there. Initially, when I made that song, I wanted to make a song that you could light a candle, put it on repeat and go all night. It was supposed to be one of those songs, but once I started writing to it, the lyrics became a little more serious.
TWU: The tracks that stood out for me were in the ‘World’ section - especially ‘My People’ and ‘How I Deal’. What were the ideas behind those?
Dwele: ‘My People’ was a song that I actually made a few years ago, but I never really got the opportunity to put it on an album because the issue would have been where to put it – a political song between love songs, you know? I had to find the right way to do it, the proper way to do it to keep a continuous flow. So, I never really put it out until I created this ‘World’ section and that gave me the opportunity to do that. ‘How I Deal’, I actually dreamt that song up. I was dreaming that somebody invited me to the studio and they were playing a song for me, which was ‘How I Deal’. I didn't know that at the time, but they were playing the song and the music was there, the hook was there – without the words, of course – everything was done. It was all there and I remember being in the studio and thinking to myself damn, ‘Why didn't I think of this? Why didn't I think to come up with this?’ Then it hit me, ‘Dwele! Wake up, you're dreaming.’ So, I woke up and I checked to make sure the TV wasn't on and the radio wasn’t on, which means that I wasn't getting any outside influences, it was all me. I ran to the studio, laid it down and made it happen.
TWU: The political side was a very interesting angle for you. What made you want to take that direction?
Dwele: I've always had a few political thoughts. I didn’t really get in too deep with the politics, but I kind of scratched the surface and made a real general document of what was going on right now: the fact that we have our first black president and the fact that we do have a recession in the States. That's something that I've always wanted to do but never really had the avenue to do it, because my whole albums consisted primarily of love songs. That's really why I wanted to create these different sections.
TWU: Finally, how important do you feel that social awareness is in music today?
Dwele: I think it's definitely important. There are not enough artists out there talking about what's really going on. If years from now someone picked up an album from 2011 and listened to it, they would think that everybody was rich and everybody had 32 inch rims on the car and diamond-encrusted chains! There needs to be more of a balance between fiction and what's really going on.
Dwele’s album, ‘W.orld W.ants W.omen’, is out now.
Stay up to date with Dwele on Twitter – www.twitter.com/TheRealDwele
Words: Hannah O’Connor (@HipHopSuperhan)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)