THE ALBUM ABOUT NOTHING: A REVIEW

By Ladi

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Mr. Wale Folarin has dropped another beautiful album. This is the fourth album from this artist. click here for a review of his previous album.  It features a few good artists.  The album about nothing should not be confused with his breakout mixtape about nothing which dropped in 2008.  The title of this album is in homage to Seinfeld which was referred to as the show about nothing because there was no end goal for the characters and stories were sometimes unconnected. The major difference between the mixtape and this is that while he had to use clips from the show on the mixtape, the album has Jerry Seinfeld live in the studio dropping words of wisdom (sometimes) to introduce the tracks.

  The intro about nothing

This here track has the usual wale instrumental on it. The fingers snapping, tambourine and the keyboard mainly reminiscent of the DMV go-go sound which he used when he first started. Also, the flow he uses here is that churchy flow.  The song talks about him being stressed about so many things.  The churchy flow like we mentioned before with the rhyming of consonant sounds.  The song didn’t have a very vivid imagery neither was it accessible.

The helium balloon

Here wale uses the balloon to describe artists in general and the listeners as the strings tied to dem balloons.   The rapper talks about how the string can be a fan and a proverbial hater at the same time. “They like you stuck with us, don’t let him fly…”  “..  Cos the same hand held you might cut you… “. He should know that the fans are a necessary evil tho. Without fans he’s not a musician, he can as well be a bathroom musician like every other Jon.

  The white shoes

This track talks about flossing at whatever cost; wearing the best, sneakers in this case.  “Say we can’t always be fly but we gon be good as long as we sneaker wise. “ the right flow with reasonable content.  We see him rhyming consonant sounds here again.

  The pessimist ft. J.Cole  

The word hopeless kept on coming up and here’s why.  The talks about a context where one is molded to build sturdy hope on a day to day meanwhile this hope can’t pay the bills so it’s rather useless. So why be so hopeful.  Hopefully, this is what Wale meant to share.  J. Cole did well on the hook and the song carries weight content wise.  Mature content.  Quite accessible with reasonably vivid imagery.

  The middle finger  

This track centers on all the unnecessary publicity stunts being pulled in the music industry and how he’s usually not interested in all that.  Fuck you, leave me alone… His words not mine.  Sincere lyrics.

  The one time in Houston    

This is a supposed love song.  Love these days is all shades of fucked up btw.  We hear wale here talking about how he loves and isn’t loved right back.

  The girls on drugs  

Almost self-explanatory.  It talks about our generation now really. Drugs and alcohol.  The ‘turn up’ generation. With specific fingers been pointed to the females “girls on drugs they still need love“.  “Let me tell you about the women I’ve been chilling with…  she ain’t shy when the liquor spill.. “ he describes the lot of them as void until filled with drugs.  Real content and is quite accessible. Wonderful imagery portrayed here too

The God smile

Briefly talks about how the hustle gon pay one day and Wale and his “niggas” will be are the top of the game.  We see the same creative play with consonants here “girls kissing me all out, Christian dior’d out“. . More importantly he’s saying hard work pays.  “Cos this game aint based on sympathy.”

  The need to know Ft SZA

Cool track right here. Sza did me proud here. She managed the hook properly.  Wale comes in to show us that rapping aint bout anger and mic wetting sessions.  Smooth flow, wonderful delivery and lovely concept for a song.  The song takes its concept from the way most long lasting relationships stay that way,  keep on the low as much as possible. I’m no Dr Phil but Ladi knows it works

  The success

This song talks about the hustle and how it distinguishes him from the rest. The song talks about how people are pushed to do wrong all to survive yo! Nothing more.

The glass egg

My newest of hobbies, collecting calls…. “. We’ve been seeing the consonant rhyme kinda rap since the beginning of this album and this song isn’t lacking.   This song majorly talks about friends keeping friends and staying true cos real friends are quite valuable.  “Although beautiful matrimony is a rap of balancing your women, your riches and at least half your hommies.”

The next three songs all talk about women and they are all beautiful songs.  If arranged right they kinda tell a story

The body ft. Jeremih

This is the courtship stage. Awesome track that appreciates the woman’s body by comparing to cars and stuff.  Jeremih probably entered the studio with a machete that day like I’m gonna murda this track with his rendition of R.Kelly’s you remind me of something“..You can tell I’m outta line like DUI.”

  The bloom (Ambitious Girls 3)

This song describes the “meet my parents phase”.

   The matrimony ft. Usher

The matrimony is the marriage stage.  Engagement in sight and stuff.  So he describes how he feels about weddings and promises a “happily ever after”.

CONCLUSION

Ladi:   The album about nothing features Jerry Seinfeld in these skits that were pretty fun to listen to.  Plus we see the usual Wale on here as the smooth and suave nigga. Compared to the last album this album is less playful with a lot of precise and mature content.  The collaborations were bomb too. Wonderful stuff.

Ladi gives it b-

Slklouis: This album sees Wale scrapping the formula of his recent albums and going back to the beginning to reconnect with his core fan base. He does this by cutting down on the club anthems, dialing back the thug talk, bringing back the go0go sound, getting more introspective and cutting out the unnecessary features. The Seinfeld intros became annoying to me at some point and it started to look like Wale was trying to force the song to fit the skit even where they had no business been with one another.

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The inconsistency in tone of this album can be forgiven cos this is the album about nothing. Also, Wale is famous for his need for acceptance from others and this album is peppered with instances of him trying to find out why he isn’t as accepted as he thinks he should be. Even when he seems to say that he doesn’t seem to care what people think about him (e.g. The Middle Finger), he forgets that stance by the time the next track comes around. While this distracted me from really enjoying the album at times, I have gotten so used to it by now that it didn’t really matter in the end, I’ll have to agree with Ladi’s rating of B-.

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THE GIFTED: A REVIEW

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It’s usually really hard for me to listen to Wale cos he either sounds boring or conflicted. He used to be known as this DC rapper that spits knowledge but then he joined MMG and what he was spitting didn’t add up to his new lifestyle. His last album, Ambition, was just about 30% good and didn’t live up to expectation. Let’s hope this one does. [You just can’t give a nigga credit can you?]

The curse of the Gifted

I eat this game and shit this out

My dirty drawers got winning streaks

The title of the song is rather self explanatory and a twist of Hov’s “the gift and the curse”. The song starts off with a couple of dudes spraying a statue of Wale (that’s probably sometime in the future). Not a great song but a good enough start to the album with Wale’s live band providing the instrumentals. [This is just some background music basically].

LoveHateThing ft Sam Dew

Listen when you get the keys it’s seldom, you don’t  get the beef

Make a nigga wanna get the piece to get to peace

Like the first line says, this song was inspired by Marvin Gaye. This is about how you can’t be loved by all and even the people that hate you with still hate you at some point. This is a strong track which is sort of a throwback to the mixtape Wale days. I guess this is the New Black Soul that he has been hyping so much. Really good track with Wale’s regular flow.

Sunshine

Before I love a industry girl I’ll marry civilian

Picture a young, rich former taking me serious

This song has Wale going back to his poetic style which gets really boring really fast but on this one, he is able to keep it lively with the drums and that dope-ass chorus.

Heaven’s Afternoon ft Meek Mill

Been a week since he seen his mother

And 18 since he seen the other

-Wale

I was so fresh, so clean when I stepped on that scene

Pulled up Aston Martin, you could ask them ya’ll seen

-Meek Mill

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Born to lose, built to win. Wale believes that line can sum up his whole career cos even though he had all the odds stacked against him, he was still able to make it in rap.

Golden Salvation

The Good Book said praise

But you so stuck in your ways

You got my image appraised

 Wale’s own ode to Jesus Pieces and jewelry in general (everyone has their own Jesus Piece song now). His own ode presents a more introspective view into hip hop’s obsession with rocking gold chains. A strong track. It is told from the perspective of Jesus [now that’s daring, gotta respect that] .(For another example of a track where Wale raps like this, jam RATHER BE ft JCole and Curren$y where they all rap about box/puss). This song deserves more than a couple of replays. [sadly as dope as this track is, it’s the shortest; of all the tracks to cut short].

Vanity

Ya ain’t pay up for no pussy but you pay for what she see

This song tho. He uses this song-like flow on this that just goes in perfectly with the beat and the overall feel of the song. As the title indicates, it is a song about Vanity. [for me wale doesn’t do too much on the track, he just allows the flow of the music do the work and he goes with that flow, it’s just him vibing out on a sampled track].

Gullible ft CeeLo Green

What if they told you this music was bogus?

The government run it, they controllin’ the culture

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We all know TV killed the Radio. Imagine a time where you didn’t need to see how an artiste looked before deciding he was good, where reputation was based solely on flow.  A really good song with CeeLo singing some angelic stuff on the chorus. This song has Wale talking about how the media has affected the society and the way people think. [the idea appears pretty golden, good stuff, I like the way he expresses the idea but he doesn’t exactly kill the track as I would have wanted]

Bricks ft Lyfe Jennings and Yo Gotti

Can’t shoot, can’t dribble, can’t rap

Young nigga don’t got no options

-Wale

First time I heard bricks, I was thinking construction

Until my ‘migo plug from Mexicó gave me my  introduction (now)

-Yo Gotti

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This song is about the boom in dope peddling and how he tried to keep himself above it due to the fact that he can actually rap. Yo Gotti surprised me with his verse on this one, I was expecting total lil-wayne-like crap but his verse was like a brief Autobiography of Yo Gotti. Another really good song.

Clappers ft Juicy J and Nicki Minaj

And I ain’t hating mama, fact I wanna take your  number

Said you save yo bread from Magic something  happened then went Voila!

-Wale

Your chick to be, I be a getting her pregnant in her throat

-Juicy J

Got ass for days, come activate

This ass on fire evacuate

Throw that ass in the air, evaporate

-Nick Minaj

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At last! This is the first party track on this album and it’s really good despite the verse from Nicki Minaj. Juicy J’s verse isn’t that good [it’s never really supposed to be] but on a party beat, it just works. [You cannot make songs like this without including Juicy J, and wale makes that work for him, good track]

Bad Remix ft Rihanna

You froze with it, you try and play Sub Zero I be  Scorpion

Pshh get over here today

Smellin’ like Jean Paul, got the ye

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This song has already been remixed once so I don’t really think this remix is of much use as it is. It’s a good track anyway just not as good as the original. [I was expecting that, but truth is this Is a very well remixed track, the texture in Rihanna’s voice was lovely and the way they blended in the song just makes it dope, and I’m not even gonna compare it to the original, same song but just different].

Tired of Dreaming ft Neyo and Rick Ross

And no, I won’t OD, you’ll get D, young as 19

I believe age is for math, all I need is chemistry

-Wale

Bonita Applebaum – my strawberry letter

Love Potion #9, this shit’s a gifted era

-Rick Ross

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Another good track which would be pretty average if not for the chorus by Neyo. [mostly cos it’s more of an RnB ft Rap song and that should be the other way, doesn’t feel right]. Not the best verse from Wale but Rozay’s verse has to count as one of his best (I guess whoever wrote that was paid 5 figures).

Rotation ft Wiz Khalifa and 2chainz

I define the odds, 2 Glock nines is my body guards

Ain’t nothing slick to a can of oil

-2chainz

A nigga like me don’t smoke blunts so I keep those  joints in rotation

Bad bitches calling the radio, keep my joints in  rotation

Keep throwing money on her ass, she keep that  joint in rotation

First I’m in a car and then another car, I keep them  joints in rotation

-Wiz Khalifa

Like a nigga out the globe, with a nigga throwed

Like a cornerback in the flat, nigga in the zone

-Wale

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An ode to the sacred leaf with Wiz Khalifa and 2chainz. 2chainz spits his regular “2 bracelets,4 chains” stuff and Wiz Khalifa spits his regular “rhyme with one word 5 times” stuff (although Khalifa’s style works this type cos he uses “joints in rotation” in four different ways). A good track. [good blunt music]

Simple Man

Ayo I’m goin places, Dior Homme lacin all occasions

And Lord gave me amazing thinking and short  patience

This song was usually produced by Wale himself and the beat is aiite with a slow first verse and a sped up second verse. You have to jam it to believe it cos I even thought this song would be crap cos of the title and the fact that it was produced by Wale. Pleasant surprise. [he samples Pac on this and well he doesn’t quite cut it for me, it’s not bad but it’s really good].

88

They tryna see me fail

Just know my thinking and my sneakers rare

Get that Chi-Town love, I’m in Leaders gear

This track talks about Wale’s spectacular sneaker game. This track also compares Wale’s career to that of one of the greatest: Michael Jordan [lol he’s trippin on his laces] (I actually consider him the fifth greatest after Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson).[like how is this relevant to us?][only thing I really enjoyed about this track were the instrumentals, Awesome shii].

Black Heroes

This cold poet just throw up quotables to give em hope

Go and slow up haters train of thoughts with brain storms

This song has Wale concentrating more on the lyrical aspect of music as this song plays without a readymade or commercial-like chorus. If this is what we’re to expect from the album about Nothing then this is a sign of good things to come.

The outro about nothing serves as the intro to Wale’s second album of 2013. The white dude speaking is Jerry Seinfeldof Seinfeld fame and the inspiration behind Wale’s breakout EP.

Bad ft Tiara Thomas

She hurt feelings, she break hearts

She stay quiet, she play smart

She take pride, in going out

Getting hollered at, and saying nah

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The original bad that samples an old Tiara Thomas song (meaning Rihanna’s song was the RIHmix of the remix of the sampled mix of the original). Another good track that is prolly better suited to the ladies.

Conclusion

 While he has appered to have lost some parts of his former self, he has improved on the parts he has left and added to that. He’s still the type of guy who wears too much cologne, but at least he’s figured out the scent that works best for him.

This album is surprisingly good but that might be because I expected absolutely nothing from him on this album [you should be ashamed of yourself]. This album was the last one I downloaded of all the Albums released in June and it took me even longer to actually listen to it. The production on this is also pretty good but the major part of this is the wordplay and delivery which he does so well on most of the tracks.

This album presents a more mature side to Wale’s media persona. It’s a return to the introspective,thoughtful and somewhat wiser Wale. Even though the album is 16 tracks long, it doesn’t feel too long at all. Instead, it feels a bit short. Some tracks were not needed at all eg Bad or Bad Remix (Bad was already on FOLARIN) and some songs just need a particular mood to be enjoyed.

[The album is actually pretty long cos most of the tracks take longer than they should( some became a drag towards their ends) and that kinda brings a drawback to the whole vibe of the album. Also, this album has some really good collabos which even goes kinda unnoticeable cos there very few rappers he worked with o this. The album is like in two phases, first you get the whole soulful instrumental thing going for like the first 7 tracks on the album and then it just kinda switches to a more urban ‘MMG’ feel for another 6 tracks and then back again to the instrumental feel. That in a way kinda brings a sense of ‘confusion’ into the mix tho it doesn’t sound bad but it kinda splits the musical idea of the album in two. So some people might like one part of the album and the detest the rest and vice versa but from a commercial point of view it actually really pays off cos it allows the album to cut across well and reach different types of music lovers]… 

I’m going to have to give this a B-

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