Souleye – Follow Your Heart

Souleye – Follow Your Heart 


Souleye hit the national music scene with the release of his 2002 album Soul Sessions and the eight albums that have followed since then rank among the most unique work in rap and hip-hop history. Souleye set out, from even those earliest days, to bring something different to this genre and that commitment to standing out from the pack continues with his latest single “Follow Your Heart”. This common phrase might be considered cliché by some, but Souleye isn’t an artist who traffics in clichés. Instead, he invests this title with both a personal and larger meaning that any feeling and deep thinking audience will be able to relate to, plus it is married to a musical arrangement that shows great intelligence and, likewise, has enough rhythmic excellence to encourage anyone listening to start moving in response. Wrapping up his weighty message with such a strong musical foundation makes it even easier to digest its import, but Souleye’s own vocals are the primary vehicle through which he communicates meaning. He communicates it spectacularly well.  

The lyrics mean everything in this song. Souleye understands how the micro and macro are interconnected in such a way that you can’t ever discuss one without referencing the other and the imagery he brings to bear in this track reinforces that without ever being too heavy handed or obvious about it. It never overreaches. Souleye’s writing doesn’t waste words or use them unnecessarily and, instead, seems perfectly tailored to the length and shape of the song without ever seeming ornamental. The message of the song is quite powerful, but much of its power comes from his liberal mix of the literal and imagistic. His imagery in “Follow Your Heart” comes from a very personal place, but he puts an universal spin on the text that makes it approachable for any listener. 

The arrangement has great construction. There are a few key parts to the song and it seems intricately planned, but never belabored to the point that it becomes predictable. The chorus is a high point because it contrasts so well with the verses thanks to the faintly ethereal air that lifts it several notches higher. The primary musical tools used here are a variety of synthesizer sounds and accurate, highly musical percussion that remains tasteful throughout, but fully engages the listener. The song runs a little less than three minutes in length, but his audience won’t ever feel like there’s too little of a good thing. Instead, it’s a very satisfying duration and leaves the listener feeling like they’ve experienced Souleye’s musical vision in full. 

“Follow Your Heart” is a continuation of the fine work that Souleye has carried off for nearly two decades and he shows no signs of slowing down. Artists so involved with the personal and the global while never becoming preachy are quite uncommon; there is a balance in his approach, however, that few recording artists possess and it gives his work a bright hue that’s impossible to ignore.  


Robert Fulford