EnterWILD, for all intents and purposes, is just that. It’s an adventure, and whether the wild is the literal wild—like the vast forest two hours south of Chicago in which 19-year-old Frank Leone grew up—or the figurative wild that lies somewhere within the depths of each of our souls, there’s something valuable to be discovered through Leone’s proper debut project.
Without getting too deep, EnterWILD is a special body of work. It’s produced entirely by Leone (or King Supertramp) himself, and there’s a certain revolutionary spirit, albeit tastefully subtle, that backs the entire album from start to finish. Described by Leone as an action-adventure album meant “for kids my age who need to be reminded that we can be the most in tune and open minded generation to ever walk this earth,” the 16-track project has been three years in the making, and upon one listen through, it’s not difficult to understand why. In a sense, it feels like a journey through adolescence—highs coupled with lows, moments of glowing inspiration coupled with deep pockets of darkness, but most importantly, a youthful energy with which Leone (and at one point, each one of us) approaches it all.
Appearances from Saba, Vic Mensa, Monster Mike and the Fighting Illini Drumline act as colorful illustrations, but it’s truly Leone’s voice—both its sound and its depth—that make EnterWILD the HD experience it is. He comes off daring, wide-eyed and sharp-tongued throughout; whether the composition of the album or his technical rapping ability, it’s clear Leone is fast approaching his grand potential, and he’s just getting started.
On “Nightcaps,” perhaps my personal favorite track alongside the ensuing “Bump in the Night,” he softly chants over somber chimes: “We the kids in America, we the kids in America, we the kids in America cause y’all never took care of us.” The chant arrives late enough in the album to loosely grasp its purpose, but upon the closing note, it becomes ever meaningful. Frank–or anyone in a similar place in life—knows relatively little about all that’s going on in the moment, nevermind the potential of all that could lie ahead. He’s self-aware and old enough to know, though, that regardless of all that’s come before him, all the supposed leaders or role models, it’s on him—on us—to determine how we’re going to move forward. We may not be prepared to enter the unknown, the WILD, but we’re going to anyway. Stream the album in its entirety below, and download directly HERE.
“If you can listen to the album in the woods or mountains please do, the weather got warm this week for a reason.” – Frank Leone