“I would like to apologize in advance for the person I’m gonna become once this album drops,” Brent Faiyaz posted on a handful of billboards promoting his sophomore album Wasteland. The man he’s become, though, isn’t one of ill-will or false pretenses, but one of total lucidity regardless of the destruction he’s caused. The truth isn’t as toxic when it’s backed by honesty, as Brent continues to blur the lines between what’s happened and what he should have done in the first place.
Taking the time in between projects to curate his self-proclaimed “masterpiece,” Wasteland is the culmination of Faiyaz’s vices as he finds clarity amid the “Wake Up Call” that’s coming for him. A part from a few singles in 2021 — one of which being “Wasting Time” with Drake and The Neptunes — the Lost Kids mogul took to Twitter to comment on a fan’s perception of his sound, agreeing with the sentiment of his music being more “transparent” than it is “toxic.”
Whether it be raw thoughts or selfish energy, Fayiaz has taken a vulnerable approach to his new record — expressing himself and giving altruistic insight to his emotions in the process. On Wasteland, Faiyaz reasserts his unapologetic songwriting to convey his message of living without the regrets of his actions. Bringing on Lost Kids signees in Joony — who appears on an album highlight in “FYTB” — and Tre’ Amani (“ADDICTIONS”), Wasteland also recruits heavy-hitting features in Drake, Tyler, The Creator, Alicia Keys, Steve Lacy, Jorja Smith and others — debuting at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200.
“VILLIAN’S THEME” — Wasteland’s opening track — sets the tone for the entire album, as Faiyaz doubles down on the idea of embodying the villain he’s become, or is becoming as the LP progresses.
I fuck around, drink, and bullshit (They gon’ be like, “It was toxic”)
Bustin’ random chicks and pop some E and bullshit
(But if you sing that, the people want you to make some shit that’s romantic, or sweet)
It’s like, “Fuck it,” like, it’s an escapeBrent Faiyaz – “VILLIAN’S THEME”
It’s a reflective escapade of self-worth and pride, furthering Faiyaz’s depiction of coming to terms with his innermost thoughts and embracing the “Wasteland” he’s put himself in. Reflecting on his perspective of fame and the overall price of it, “PRICE OF FAME” is a masterclass carried by Brent’s sensual vocals and ever-evolving production. “[The fame] I swear it isn’t everything,” he sings on the track, expressing his dissatisfaction of the spotlight and his fight for peace within in.
A turning point on the album is “ADDICTIONS,” where Faiyaz takes a step back for more self-reflection. Serving as a conversation to himself, he contemplates if the addictions he battles with are the reason for the events that have taken place in his life, or something else altogether. A concept many of us go through when our lives aren’t going as ought to be, self-sabotage is something that can be overlooked as one may look to the external rather than internal factors.
While Faiyaz was inspired by film scores — as a majority of the project follows a more mellow, cinematic and string-infused soundscape — he offers a switch-up in “ROLE MODEL,” a fairly minimalistic melody with the drums being the driving force of the entire track. Other cuts in “ROLLING STONE” and “DEAD MAN WALKING” peel back the curtain of Faiyaz’s hype — where he isn’t controlling over women, but rather tells them to do as they please. He declares “I’m a rolling stone” and “I’m too wild for you to own,” on the track, proclaiming his independence is a driving force for his personality. “I’m sorry in advance if I let you down,” he laments.
In addition to the music, Faiyaz offers breaks in the action — placing skits and interludes throughout the record to create a physical world surrounding Wasteland. Conversations between the mother of his child and himself serve as context to the relationship they have together. Having to deal with Faiyaz and his fast-pace lifestyle, Brent’s baby mama is fed up with how she’s been treated — and how Faiyaz is so nonchalant about her considering her feelings over his own.
Another highlight on the album is “SKIT: WAKE UP CALL” — detailing the breaking point of the relationship between Faiyaz and his baby’s mother, in which she claims he doesn’t deserve to have a child nor will he ever see the baby. Simply, the finale skit is a film in itself — mirroring themes spread all throughout the album for a grandiose yet troubling ending. “You can’t always get what you want,” Brent’s former flame shrills over the phone before she hangs up — putting you in his or her shoes depending on perspective.
Leading into the last track on the album, Faiyaz displays one of his best vocal performances yet. “ANGEL” is the defining point of the project as much as it is a full circle moment for Faiyaz. After going through the worst parts of himself, he realizes he needs this women by his side or he’ll die, crooning she is “an angel in disguise.”
Simply put, Wasteland is a special record. The consistency displayed throughout the entire album is not only awe-inspiring, but was well worth the wait. Whether it be through the dialogue of the skits or the ethereal, film-inspired sonics of the production, one thing Faiyaz does a great job of is tying each song together — highlighting the narrative first and foremost. Unapologetically expressing himself and his vices, Faiyaz doesn’t hold anything back — leaving nothing unsaid in the Wasteland he’s stuck in.
Listen to ‘Wasteland’ below!