September 2, 2010

Test Spins: Wale

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Wale, Washington DC’s best hope for a rap phenom, has proven himself to be nothing more than a very talented disappointment.  His new mixtape More About Nothing (a follow-up to 2008’s Seinfeld themed The Mixtape About Nothing) may be his best to date but stands no chance of repairing his reputation for mediocrity.

More About Nothing, like everything that Wale has produced in his career, shows signs of genius. “The Flight,” a remix of Lenny Kravitz’s “Fly Away,” highlights the emcee’s finer qualities, his bouncy yet hard-hitting style and his laid-back lyrical acuity, but lacks that indescribable it-factor that creates a hit. His lyrics definitely find their stride on many tracks, including “The Soup,” in which he announces “I’m all up on the beat like a m***-f***** stethoscope.”  At times the album’s beats seem rough and poorly mixed, especially on the failed dance track “The Guilty Pleasure,” but tracks like “The Work” are catchy in their own right.

This album, like his earlier The Mixtape About Nothing, relies upon frequent Seinfeld clips. At times they are quite impressive. “The Soup” is able to successfully mix Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi into the chorus and other tracks begin with George Costanza’s recognizable complaining. Although at times they are integral to the tracks, providing clever intros and outros, they become annoying quickly. Their relevance to the music is at times questionable, destroying the flow of the album as a whole. While it’s an interesting concept to model a mixtape around the sitcom, the clips take away from the serious tone of tracks like “The War.”

Despite disappointing album sales in the past and a lack of any significant hits to name, rap fans should keep faith in Wale. More About Nothing has moments that are simply too good to write off the emcee as a failed Interscope Records project.  Wale still has the potential to be an all-star emcee. Fans can only hope that Interscope invests in one more full album and Wale decides exactly what he wants his music to sound like.


Original Author: Adam Lerner