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This week, the Breaks offers critical analysis of Wale’s new single, “The Body,” as well as new music from Phil Adé and GoldLink. Finally, some big news from Logic. Also, if you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and read Marcus J. Moore‘s City Paper cover story on local hip-hop trio Diamond District.
About “The Body”
On Monday afternoon, Wale released a trailer for his fourth album, The Album About Nothing. As I mentioned earlier in the week, trailers for anything other than films are typically self-indulgent wastes of time. This, however, was intriguing, as Wale (hypothetically) admitted that he had deviated from his original path to success.
He promised a return to the basics, and the appearance of Jerry Seinfeld seemed to guarantee that. It was invigorating, making fans and critics alike eager to hear what a return to the formula that first garnered him national acclaim with 2008’s The Mixtape About Nothing might sound like.
Everyone waiting for that was slightly disappointed by the release of “The Body,” the album’s lead single, which the D.C. rapper has been talking about for months. Some might feel betrayed by Wale for pledging something and delivering the complete opposite, but I’m not part of that crowd. I’d heard snippets of the “The Body” months ago, so I knew exactly what to expect. My issue with it is that it’s not in the same universe as his other radio-friendly hits in terms of quality.
I’m actually a fan of his R&B-influenced songs like “Lotus Flower Bomb” and “Sabotage,” and though the radio ran “Bad” into the ground, it was an undeniable hit. “The Body,” which features Chicago-bred singer Jeremih and borrows the generic “compare a woman’s body to an inanimate object” theme from R.Kelly’s 1995 hit, “You Remind Me of Something.” The difference is that the song simply isn’t as good. What’s more, he’s already proven that he and Jeremih are a respectable tandem with 2011’s Curtis Mayfield-sampling “That Way,” which makes their latest output even more disappointing.
Has Wale deceived us? No. I’m confident that “The Body” is simply a piece of the puzzle that The Album About Nothing will certainly be, especially since an earlier leak, “The Followers,” sounds more like the old Wale longtime fans have been yearning to hear again.
The reality is that it’s not 2008, and the artist who made The Mixtape About Nothing has evolved into a Grammy nominee and radio darling. He wasn’t going to completely abandon what’s made him commercially successful, and I still anticipate that The Album About Nothing will be the project that brings both Wales together. Think about when Nas made Stillmatic in 2001—-he also went back to his roots, but he was still the same artist who erred by making a song with Ginuwine.
Before everyone writes Wale off, let’s see what the next phase of the album’s rollout has to offer.
A Very Maryland Collaboration from Phil Adé
Maryland rapper Phil Adé popped up with new music just to make sure everyone remembers how talented he is, and it’s good. “Soon As I Get On” rides an enchanting sample courtesy of producer Kal Banx as Adé reflects on taking care of those important to him when he breaks through. The vocals from Grammy winner and fellow Maryland native Mýa put it over the top. A Little Bit of GoldLink
As the Virginia MC continues his ascent, new music is always welcome. The oriJanus-produced “Velho” is sample-heavy and haunting, but GoldLink brings his signature bounce, which makes the song easy to listen to over and over again. An Update on Logic’s Debut Album
First and foremost, it’s definitely coming out. Second, it’s called Under Pressure. Third, here’s what the cover art looks like: