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Track-By-Track Review: ‘Street Serenade’ As Told By Wauve

Sweeney Gloria

By Sweeney Gloria

Sweeney Gloria

10 Dec 2021

British-Eritrean artist, Wauve (pronounced: WAH-V not wave), has worked relentlessly in the years coming up to the delivery of his anticipated mixtape as he bids the year farewell – until he’s back with something new, that is. 

Independently pushing ‘Street Serenade’ to the limit, the producer-artist is putting Afro-wave, R&B, and melodic rap on his back. Still, it’s not just about sounds and sonics. Wauve knows what he wants you to hear but he also knows how he wants you to feel. 

His debut body of work is both conceptual and introspective, inspired by the realities of inner-city life. In his own words, Wauve invites you into the process of developing ‘Street Serenade’ which ultimately, in ten tracks, embodies an experience that he knows all too well… 

1. “MY CITY”

W: The intro to the project…it’s what ‘Street Serenade’ is all about and I wanted to give people a grand feeling when entering the project. There’s an orchestral vibe and I’m singing my heart out about the streets and why I am the way I am. I’m pointing out my imperfections and blaming it on the city I was raised in. I’m echoing the mandem in the streets and I’m putting it into an art. It sets the tone and I made it with my go-to producer, Lucid. 

2. “PAVEMENTS”

W: I created a story of a typical guy from the streets who’s trying to make a way for himself and ends up getting into bad sh*t. I’m painting that picture of what it’s like to be on London’s pavements, which is a good way to get into the project after the short-and-sweet intro. It’s a continuation of the sounds and I want you to feel like you’re riding through the hood. I produced this one myself and was inspired by Kendrick Lamar and J Cole. There’s a beginning, middle and end to the story and the hook just ties it together. It’s kinda like Afro-R&B vibes. 

3. “MONZO”

W: Me and One Acen linked up quite naturally because he loved my song: Day By Day. We linked up in January and I had two songs that I’d already produced and had hooks for. We split it for each project and this one is for the radio. I shouted out I’m from East Africa which is a big part of my identity and sound: “I’m an East African jungle boy…” Monzo fits the project with the whole concept of just trying to make money – everyone relates to that in the streets. 

4. “VOGUE”

W: Vogue is one of them tunes that everyone loves so far. I say “she’s got a bussdown kitty, with her wrist on froze…” Bussdown kitty basically means a girl is just bossed up on her own ting. The girls can resonate with the idea of hustling and getting it on their own – same concept but for my female fans. It’s inspired a lot by Dutch music and the sound in Holland… the bounce, the vibe has got like an Afro-R&B element. 

5. “LEFT RIGHT LEFT”

W: This concept comes from the army march chant and I use it for when the mandem are just posted or ready for war. This track is basically an interlude – it’s very short and it’s got like a different bounce. I moulded the bounce off of Chris Brown/Swizz Beatz’ “I Can Transform Ya” because if you listen to that drum beat it’s very different and forces the artist to flow differently. You’ll hear the unique bounce of my drum beat… I take a lot from the early 00s era. I always wanna have a song that test the listener’s ear. 

6. “PULL UP”

W: After a gritty track, I try to keep the balance and do another one for the girls init. This one is the ‘lovey’ aspect of ends, like pulling up on your main ting. It’s kind of slow and dark but in a sexy way. It’s like slow dancehall-R&B, the way the beat is hitting. It’s an ear candy kind of song and definitely balances out the vibes on the project and it’s produced by a German producer. I added to the beat as well with Indian drums because I loved throwback NeYo and Bobby Valentino tunes with those drums on it. 

7. “IN LOVE WITH THE LIQUOR”

W: Not gonna lie, I’ve had this hook since 2016 and I never dropped it. It’s lit – I’m using different kind of liquors to represent girls: “Hennessy was my first love, Vossy is my side ting…” do you get me? I’m just playing on that and it’s a clever tune but at the same time it’s just litty. You can play this in the club! I put my boy JC on it when I re-recorded…he’s up and coming so we’re just rolling together – had to put him on the project! It gets more wavy/clubby from here – not everyday street street street, you need turn up moments. 

8. “AMNESIA”

W: This is the first song I made this year. Harry J produced this one but I think the tune speaks for itself. It’s like the morning after, I wake up and it’s like I have amnesia because I don’t know what happened. It’s post turn-up! It sounds like a big hit and this is the lead single from the project – another ear candy song with a little bit of flexing. It’s just enjoyment. When we made this in the studio, ironically there was a studio party the night before… I had to take the beat, drive home and record it at my yard. I was in the whip singing the hook melody in my head whilst my phone was dying so I wouldn’t forget it – that was a funny day! 

9. “NEW SPECIES”

W: New Species is one of my favourites. I put my heart into this song and I’m touching on family, getting paper, how girls can be and bare different things. The beat reminds me of a Roddy Richh sound. It was a collaborative process – I started it three years ago. I’m taking songs from different eras to piece this project together and this tune stood the test of time. Rich 52 made a simple beat and the whole thing was me freestyling. Biggz (of the Compozers) was around and freestyled on the piano from the beginning to the end of the track and then left. In one go! We kept it because it was amazing. It’s kind of like the project’s fluid outro. I ended it on a deep, introspective note with a beautiful melody and realness. 

10. BONUS TRACK: “VOGUE” (LATE NIGHT REMIX)

W: This one is special for me. It’s foreshadowing where I’m gonna go with R&B in 2022. I sampled my own song, Vogue. In the beginning you hear it pitched down from the original so I created another song. It’s a Drake/Tory Lanez kind of vibe… you hear the gaps and phones and emotions. This is just a bonus because I know my listeners love when I do R&B. It might be different from what people usually hear me do but I wanna get more into this bag. It’s creative and has a nostalgic vibe to it. I took ‘bussdown kitty’ and made that into a new hook “my baby bossed up, my baby got bussdown…” it gets deeper into that. It adds another layer to “Vogue” which is a song that has performed really well. I love doing remixes that are actual remixes. 

Find more reviews of recent rap projects here. 

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