Those that study hip-hop's beginnings will discover that the music and other elements were used as a creative alternative to gang violence. In that same spirit, Dallas-based rapper Wayne Savant uses words to heal the emotional wounds of his own life. While the booty-shaking sounds of the Dirty South won't fade away any time soon, Unstoppable Force Immovable Object is an album with a different agenda, one where the message takes priority over the music. Many a brain-dead rapper has been able to get over with intelligent beats to carry them through, but Wayne seems to be a student of verbal economics. In short, he wasn't put here to waste words.
Immediately noticeable is the stripped-down feel of the production, devoid of flash or the need to be stamped "club banger of the month." Mister Mods and Savant craft sparse, stark rhythms that force you to pay attention to the words. Right from the opening track, "Ode To Duality," Wayne comes out swinging with tongue-twisting verses that feel as if they're running at twice the speed of its underlying beat. The phrase "keep it real" applies directly to his unflinching vulnerability, especially on a song like "Make It." It is here that Wayne deals with broken homes, a stepfather whose idea of discipline is excessive force, and finding strength within yourself in spite of it. The press release for UF/IO speaks of being accepted within the cipher, that circular safe haven where rappers release the stress from their chests. It could be argued that Wayne's strongest moments on the album involve him trading verses with other MCs, such as "Reality" featuring Smack Dab or "Precision" with C-Eleet and the bilingual Omy Santana.
The last two songs on the album contain his most political and passionate lyrics. On "Sad To Say," Wayne dissects the events of September 11, 2001, coming to the conclusion that "9/11 was an inside job." His rage against wickedness in high places turns to seeking a higher source as he reveals himself as a "soldier for Christ" on "A Roll Of The Dice." Allowing his faith to have the last word, things end on a hopeful note. Persecuted but not forsaken, cast down but not destroyed, Wayne Savant emerges from his past both stronger and wiser. Unstoppable Force Immovable Object may not fill the dance floor, but it can deliver a message to those that need it most.
- Jason Randall Smith
= Radio BSOTS (www.bsots.com)
= contributing writer, Impose Magazine