(I am) James Wade
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(I am) James Wade

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"(I AM) JAMES WADE - BREAKING UP (follow-up feature to SMILE)"

Featured back in March, Smile won then-Booth newcomer (iam) James Wade high praise for his intelligent lyricism, but some weren’t feeling its unconventional, Chipmunk-sampled beat. Far from toning down his distinctive style, though, the Georgia native goes an equally left-of-center route on his latest single, Breaking Up. Here, producer Kajmir Royale‘s chirpy, chopped take on Neil Sedaka’s ‘60s hit Breaking Up Is Hard to Do sets an infectiously bouncy (if slightly chaotic) mood as Wade drops clever, refreshingly self-pity-free bars about the conflict between his artistic grind and his love life. Though he hates to let a girl down, he knows that getting ahead in the game is going to take up the lion’s share of his time and energy for the foreseeable future – thus, he’s perfectly willing to hold out till he finds a chick willing to grow with him during the process (that, and accompany him on his frequent smoke breaks). Does James Wade have all the pieces in place for an out-the-box hit? I’ll let you have the final say. Fans should keep it locked for news and tunes in the lead-up to the winter arrival of Wade’s latest full-length, The Ugly Show. - DJBooth.net


This is the big one for Urbanian favorite, James Wade. He’s been continuously on his grind to get his music further out to the public, and this DJ IllWill and DJ Rockstar sponsored mixtape will do just that.

Popular Stranger can be seen as Wade’s hello-to-the-rap-world party, and this one was well-planned. It’s a surprise party for those who find Wade as a stranger, and the expected bash of a lifetime for those who live in the area where Wade is popular. Hence why Popular Stranger is the perfect title for this mixtape. Wade definitely has niches in tiny pockets around the country where he can be deemed popular. He has a lot of support in certain areas that are full of people respecting his grind and whom want to watch him grow as a rapper. Despite his talents, Wade has seemed to slip through the cracks when it comes to major hip-hop blogs, making him a stranger to most.

Having DJ IllWill and DJ Rockstar’s names on the mixtape is his ticket to those major hip-hop blogs. These guys have been behind mixtapes of rappers such as Wiz Khalifa. If a rap blog receives something associated with those two guys, they’ll post it, no questions asked.

With the pressure of having those two host the mixtape, Wade handles it well. From sampling choices, lyricism, flow, and even tracklisting, Wade excels in all aspects. The mixtape starts off with Far Away. The song contains a super dope and mellow sample with a great message for introductory purposes. In the song, Wade simply tells the haters to just go far away. Rap has become a genre with more haters than lovers. It seems most people have forgotten to just enjoy the music. Those new to Wade will be able to instantly tell Wade is just having fun with his music. If you don’t enjoy it, then so be it. Just go far away and let the rest of us enjoy the music. There’s no need for negativity here.

As the mixtape progresses, we come across one of Wade’s most poignant tracks, Weatherman. Those familiar with Wade will know this song well. Wade has been carrying around this song with him for awhile. This time around it’s a bit revamped, and he also drops the features from the previous version. It’s a good move dropping the features. Being one of his better tracks and putting it on this mixtape that is guaranteed to gain more exposure, Wade needs to show everyone he can handle it on his own. And, of course he does. This is a jam that everyone is going to need on their summer playlists.

As the mixtape listening experience continues, so does the enjoyment. Longtime fans of Wade will notice he inserted a good handful of tracks from The Common Ground. Brilliant idea. With the opportunity to get some better mastered tracks from DJ IllWill and DJ Rockstar, nabbing some extremely solid tracks from The Common Ground that went unheard by many is a good move. Wade is able to get a wider audience to already outstanding pieces of work. Some of the tracks carried over are On My Way, Man in My City, Smile, and I Can Make You Famous. Giving these tracks the chance to be properly mastered is a beautiful thing.

The mixtape ends just like it began, perfect. Choosing On My Way as the closer was a good choice. Like the song’s title states, Wade is on his way. Backing that claim are all the tracks you just listened to.

Once this mixtape gets distributed to a wider audience the arrow will shift more toward “Popular” in the “Popular Stranger” junction. - The Urbanian


It’s pretty rare when a tape drops and I get more excited than a Jew in a diamond mine. But by golly, James Wade dropped Popular Stranger today and I acquired a hernia from bobbing my head too hard. It is a masterpiece.

The Georgia native is taking the game by storm and wont be a “stranger” for long. His music serves as a refreshing oasis in the desert that gives more love to high-pitched yelps (OJ Da Juiceman), annoying dances (Soulja Boy) and drug addicts (need I give an example?) than to contagious passion, authentic talent, and enveloping sound. There is something enchanting about a musician who has yet to acquire notable fame: a music that is deeper, untouched by the slimy hands of the industry. J Wade captures that essence but maintains an ability to entertain the listener unlike most indie artists. At some point, everyone gets sick of breakbeats and craves a chipmunk sample or a soul melody — and J Wade delivers. Musicians toil to perfect the balance between niche sound and mass appeal; few do it with success, but Wade has the potential to do so (if he hasn’t already).

Within Popular Stranger (free download), the hits start when the intro ends. Far Away offers the type of sample that made OneRepublic famous, and just like Wayne on Apologize, J Wade carries it. “They hate me cuz I’m fresh/I’m the freshest like a freshman with some fresh kicks/Dummie fresh/Like he Dougie Fresh and the Fresh Prince.” The point he’s trying to make is, he’s fresh.

He proceeds to rock like a trapstar on Man In My City, then kill a Rascal Flatts sample in Don’t Bother Me. Wade conquers the South in just two tracks. If only it was that easy for The Union.

To cap off the randomly genius samples, Mr. Blue boasts Catherine Feeny and a slow, regretful flow that we don’t hear on any other tracks. Wade puts a shocking amount of emotion into his lyrics, a practice that polarized Kid Cudi’s fans and made Taylor Swift an icon. My guess is JW lands somewhere in between.

It’s unlikely J Wade is making XXL’s 2010 top freshmen list, which is a prosecutable act in and of itself. I challenge the folks at XXL to explain why Nipsey Hussle is better than this foo. But I digress. That just means it’s up to us to give hype where hype is due. So put on for James Wade and we’ll see what he can accomplish — I know I wanna see him rock my hometown. - Synspeak


Critically Acclaimed Singles off Freshman Mixtape 'POPULAR STRANGER'

- Weatherman
- Don't Bother Me
- Smile
- Far Away

Released industry Freestyles

- Beemer, Benz or Bentley Freestyle
- Deuces Freestyle



Artist (I am) James Wade began his professional career as an independent artist in January of 2010. Having spent the years earning his degree in Communications Management, Sociology/Women's studies and studying the industry from a fans perspective, he graduated in 2009 with the vision to market his lyrical ability and dynamic persona in the competitive environment of today's Hip-hop artists. Wade spent years in both Georgia and the midwest cultivating his knowledge of varying demographics and shaping his over-all style of music. A unique sound, which mixes spoken word and lyricism, with heavy R&B soul and indie-rock influences, has garned Wade the respect of industry critics with San Diego, CA's Synspeak stating: 'J. Wade delivers. Musicians toil to perfect the balance between niche sound and mass appeal; few do it with success, but Wade has the potential to do so (if he hasn’t already)' (7.21.2010).

After releasing his first nationally recognized project (Popular Stranger) through DJ Ill Will/DJ Rockstar, Wade's material has been downloaded over 100,000 times (limelinx registers Wade's download number at 60,000 on hotnewhiphop's site alone) and featured on over 100 industry blog sites. He has opened with nationally recognized artists Mike Posner, Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, and Big Sean, etc. Wade is currently shopping his next project The Ugly Show (tentatively to be released early fall) to be sure to achieve maximum industry exposure that will go beyond Popular Stranger’s success.