Wale gets a lot of hate and maybe it comes from his style not resonating with some fans or possibly the untapped potential that many feel he has never reached. In 2008,“The Mixtape About Nothing” which as you guessed was inspired heavily by the show ‘Seinfeld’ really helped Wale capture more mainstream attention and built a very strong fan base. Fast forward a few years later and Wale is signed to Rick Ross’ MMG label which would see him receive proper support and promotion.Yet, in return some fan backlash saying he began rapping more materialistic calling his music boring and for females. While he still does well commercially and his music reviews are favorable, there is still a portion of hip hop fans that just seem to reject Wale. I believe the DMV rapper knows this and his response is ‘The Album About Nothing’.
Saying that if you are not a Wale fan already, you still will not be one after this album and that is perfectly fine. While this latest LP is a more transparent Wale as he really gives you a good look into his thoughts and feelings, those same fans he wants to respect are not going to come around. “The Intro About Nothing” is really sets the tone for this entire project. It is almost like being in a confessional and it takes you to church in a sense. “The Helium Balloon” changes pace up and acts as an incredible symbol for success and how people want to hold you down. “The White Shoes” is a standout track again for the same reason “The Helium Balloon” as the shoes work as allegory for hope. Wale being a sneaker head also uses this as a time to show off his knowledge and speak on the real dangers of the shoe collection game. Strangely, “The Pessimist” is next featuring J.Cole but the song title cannot fool you as it works as an uplifting piece. Disappointed that Cole is only on the hook as a verse from the NC emcee really could have been special over this. “The Girls on Drugs” is another ode to the women that Wale has seemed to met since becoming a star. Hard to tell what emotion he is trying to evoke out of us, as it sounds like a tale of depression lyrically but sonic-ally up beat.
This misfires come on “The Middle Finger” where you would think it was Kid CuDi track. Also the song is just about not liking many people who would be fine if there were more songs like this on the album it is just sort of there as filler.”The One Time in Houston” suffers from that same problem. Not that it is a Kid CuDi throwaway but has that filler vibe to it and the famous Houston screw does not work on here. “The Success” just feels off for some reason, possibly because it sounds like “The Helium Balloon” slightly sped up and just not as captivating. It also could be the lack of Jerry Seinfeld that makes it falter.
The album finishes off with some R&B which is no surprise. “The Need to Know”, “The Bloom”, “The Matrimony” featuring Usher and the lead sing “The Body” featuring Jeremiah are all solid songs with “The Bloom” probably the most disappointing as it acts as the third version of “Ambitious Girl”. “The God Smile” and “The Glass Egg” was divisive, as they are not bad songs but neither are that great either.
Overall, Wale is going to make his fans happy and he is unapologetic about gaining any new ones. At this point in his career he wants to be respected, and ‘The Album About Nothing’ just is not going to do that. The validation he is seeking is not here but it does not need to be. The DMV rapper has strong and faithful supporters and any attempt to deviate from them would be a mistake. Wale is not for everyone and everyone is not for Wale. What he does give us is an inspirational album while giving one that is sort of bland. Not much is going to excite you but that is part of the appeal as he is a smooth rapper that is going to provide lyrics and provoking raps. He also is going to keep the women happy so all those critics are just going to have to get over that. The Album About Nothing proves one thing for sure and that more Jerry Seinfeld is never a bad thing.
7.3 out of 10
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