Wale is a rapper whose mixtapes are arguably better than his albums. Wale signed with MMG (Maybach Music) and released Ambition in 2011, followed by The Gifted in 2013. Despite charting at No. 2 and No. 1 respectively, each have songs that could make a variety of playlists but aren’t considered top albums of their year.
Among his mixtapes, the first I heard was the excellent
More About Nothing, the sequel to his breakout The Mixtape About Nothing. Both are inspired by Seinfeld and feature popular clips and sound bites from episodes mixed in with a variety of beats and a much more raw flow from Wale — the nicest touch being that all track titles start with “The…”. Giving More About Nothing another listen for the first time in a long time I feel like it deserves to be mentioned among the classic mixtapes of this decade. It represents a nice leap in Wale’s sound so give that a spin if you’re so inclined.
As if Wale also recognizes the affinity for his mixtapes, this week we were gifted (sorry) The Album About Nothing. Whereas the mixtapes featured old Seinfeld clips, The Album About Nothing features both clips and new audio from Jerry himself to structure the album (who is apparently a fan and now friend of Wale’s).
With 14 tracks covering an hour and change The Album About Nothing sure feels long and that’s something. Maybe it feels long because Wale is trying to appeal to so many tastes and cover so many topics. Appealing to a wide audience often has the side effect of enabling the listener to dismiss large chunks of the album that don’t appeal to them, diminishing the quality of the album as a whole. At the end of the day I just want to give Wale one big “good job, good effort” because he checks all of the boxes. That said, I’m into a few of tracks.
“The One Time In Houston” is a nice slow but not quite screwed banger in which Wale falls in love with a stripper. That’s a Drake move, and sounds very OVO toward the end, but good for Wale. I’m much more interested in what he’s up to in Houston and his experiences with
“The Girls On Drugs”, which samples Janet Jackson’s “Go Deep.”
“The Need To Know” is another jam thanks to a low thumping beat and a guest spot from SZA singing a throwback to Musiq Soulchild’s “Just Friends (Sunny).” The Seinfeld clips are well placed and a few favorites come here in the middle of the album.
On the other hand I can do without the two very R&B singles released featuring Usher and Jeremih. Same goes for the numerous times Wale takes us to church, or tries to deliver a larger message — but I don’t fault him for trying, I’m sure there are plenty who are into it. That’s the thing about Wale, he’s always got a little something for everybody.