By Triston D. Wright
The voice. The lyrics. The grit. The vision. The production. The vibe. The knowledge. The wisdom. WiseSpokenIII continues a rich heritage of soul-stirring, thought-provoking art installations set to the backdrop of angst fueled by an ongoing acceleration toward dystopia because racial oppression is still the order of the day.
Befitting of the revolutionaries whose respective legacies of raging against the machine season his passion, Takeez found himself digitally imprisoned yet again ahead of the release of yet another project intended to disturb the peace by enlivening the mind. It’s as though his life was acting out the sentiments of the art that was inspired by their lives.
Lawton rapper Takeez releases politically charged album: Wisespokenlll
Takeez is that rare mix of the multifaceted “Black Experience” converging upon one soul and blessing the world with a unique perspective. With elements of Gospel, HipHop, Soul Music, Spoken Word, Poetry, and the Streets, his music is a sonic libation that intoxicates your need to know. On WiseSpokenIII, we see Takeez settle fully into his role of equal parts insurgent, rebel, and mutineer.
His lyrics paint the picture of a man standing at the crossroads where Marcus, Malcolm, Martin, and Nat meet on the other side to fireside chat about through which medium the revolution will be shared, if not televised. One’s mind is given little choice, but to use his similes and metaphors as the building blocks for a landscape of thought that waves the banner of freedom in a defiant Black Power fist.
The laid back vibe of “Patriot Games” belies the feelings of intense anxiety or dread and racial tension its lyrical narrative weaves. On it, Takeez thumbs his nose at the sheer audacity of those who masquerade their bigotry and white delusions of grandeur (often mislabeled as supremacy) as patriotism.
It is the unapologetic “chest poked out; whatever you bout I’m bout” energy of this track that enlivens the sensibilities of someone who’s grown weary of the impending threat of civil unrest. And, rather than feigning ignorance, it calls it to the carpet for a reckoning. Takeez takes on the role of the ambient rebel whose strength lies in the sincerity of his convictions rather than the volume at which he presents them.
“Black and Blue”
“Black and Blue,” featuring Keenon Rush, is another hauntingly brooding ear confection that sees Takeez continue his assessment of the Black experience. This time he hones in on the limitations his environment offers young men stepping out into the world.
With Lawton, Oklahoma representing an exceedingly insulated microcosm that draws a very indistinct line in the sand between law abiders and lawbreakers, Takeez waxes philosophical by drawing a comparison between these factions. He personifies the conflict within his soul produced by the tug of war waging within his spiritual sensibilities.
Keenon Rush amplifies these notions with a clearcut lyrical dissertation about how many young, Black men are not given the proper tools to maneuver through a society that has made them the poster children for malevolence, and how law enforcement’s default setting is far too often to weaponize Black skin as a justification for the cold-blooded murder of Black people. It’s like poetically flipping the middle finger at 12, but never actually dropping the F-bomb because one’s ability to paint a picture with lyrics far exceeds the emotional impact a mere, well-placed and enunciated profanity will have on listeners.
“Inner City Horror Story”
“Inner City Horror Story” presents as a drum-driven modern day hood spiritual that tenders comfort to the Black man’s wounds; wounds compounded daily by the weight of wading through land mines of psychological assault. Is the horror story the intentional scrubbing away of history and identity; the supplanted “thug life” mentality that serves as a most informed defense mechanism; the ongoing initiative to seek and destroy Black bodies by “white devils”; cultural appropriation by label executives; or a combination of all of the above?
It’s the souls of the people in inner cities that give it its personality. If those souls have been subjected to ongoing horrors that span decades, the inner city is left with but one genre through which to tell its story. The closing chorus lullabies the listener into a state of remembering who we are as a remedy for the misguided hatred, exploitation, and oppression to which we are subjected.
“Plight Pain” featuring CDZ! to some might come across to some as some Black hipster glorification of drugs, sex, & HipHop, but to those with the intellectual fortitude to identify context, it speaks to the escapism into which so many of us have to nose-dive just to keep a grip on our sanity.
The allure of Black subculture screams at the top of its lungs beckoning those who are feeling broken in spirit after constantly clawing and fighting to find a way out. It dangles money, cash, sexual escapades, drug-induced alternate realities, fast cars, fashion, jewelry, and trinkets before their eyes like a Pied Piper skipping them into a distant dystopia. It does a great job of decorating itself as nirvana when compared to the harsh reality from which they’re seeking to escape.
And though the symptoms may include physical injury, disability, terror/extreme fear, impairment, incarceration, or death, having ones back against the wall is also a special kind of crippling prison in and of itself.
“Hurt You,” featuring Moone, is a continuation of the project’s overall theme, but approaches the subject matter from a more reminiscent perspective. It touches on what it feels like for eyes to always be cast upon you for reasons that are neither rooted in truth nor intended to espouse feelings of pride.
Blank stares blanketed by dumbfounded bigotry. Campaign slogans meant to whisper equality, but only really serve as the placebo intended to keep us on the hamster wheel. Recognizing those cross-sections where our respective struggles align to forge a new declaration of we shall overcome. Kinsmanship crafted from a shared disdain for the recycling of pain that transmogrifies into a disorder that only bares its teeth after the trauma induces stress.
Enter Moone. Whitewashed curriculum taught by White teachers groomed to believe that White ways of being and doing are the commandments of polite society. White administrations pretending to be culturally competent. And what morsel of education are we to believe is applicable to our lives. Misinformation and mischaracterizations jotted down on incident reports and in counseling notes. Painting a distorted picture of who you truly are while also building a case in support of convicting you of some crime of which you may be accused in the future. And this rat race of the mind, body, and spirit isn’t for the faint of heart. And somehow we have to inspire others to laugh with us because the burden can’t be lifted by a solo.
Sounds of soul and strength. Sounds of rhythm and rhyme. Testaments to the ancestors while blazing a path of revolution and prophecy. Part sermon and part symphony. Blues and banter. The attention to detail souls wield when speaking through the artistry of man.
Takeez’s Wisespokenlll available on all digital platforms
Though markedly pissed off because the oppressive status quo continues to feed upon Black bodies for both entertainment and nourishment, Takeez’s rage is tenderized by a deeply intense passion for the plight of our people. Some might be surprised that such a lush tapestry of talent exists where the waving wheat can sure smell sweet when the wind comes right behind the rain, but facts are facts and Takeez is the real deal if ever there was. Do yourself a favor and take a deep dive into his catalog and when you resurface on the deep end of his latest offering, if you feel the fire of “I’m Black and I’m Proud” coursing through your veins, go back and listen again because your “god-body” needs to be awakened. WiseSpokenIII is available on all platforms!
About the author: Triston for Dummies is a Singer, Songwriter, Recording Artist, Author, Cultural Commentator, Journalist, Novelist, Comedian, Actor, Podcaster, Social Media Svengali, Life Coach, Vocal Coach, Personal Trainer, and Independent Wine Consultant. His work can be found at his website: here.