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Wale, DC’S GREAT RAP HOPE, has recently taken some time off from his day job of infuriating everyone to release some new music. More About Nothing is his retreat to the moment when the internet was most interested in him—-his Seinfeld-inspired Mixtape About Nothing. Unfortunately, More About Nothing finds him still suffering from the schizophrenia that alienated many of those early fans in the first place, jumping around from street-rap to spoken-word neo-soul to gross cokehead party music. Hit the jump for my hating-ass track-by-track first-listen response, give or take a few songs that truly did say nothing.
“The Problem (Intro)” Schroder from Peanuts meets Def Poetry Slam intro. Despite what he intimates, nobody has ever made the claim that Wale is “running hip hop.” And “ruining” is usually spelled with an “I.” J/K. Wale isn’t quite famous enough to ruin anything but his own tapes.
“The Problem” “Take it in blood like Phlebotomus.” Vocabularic havoc!
“The Soup” It seems like More About Nothing picks up the first tape’s tendency to shoehorn Seinfeld themes and samples into wholly unrelated songs. This one is ostensibly about the Soup Nazi episode but only because it has vocal samples and Wale says “No Soup For You!” on the chorus. He also calls himself the sixth man on the Interscope bench, begs for Pitchfork respect (Questlove style) and calls out revered hip hop publication The Washington Post for accusing him of homophobia.
“The Friends N Strangers” I do not want to hear about Wale’s pre-cum related swelling. TMI ’til infinity.
“The Eyes Of The Tiger” This is a tragic song where Wale rhymes from the perspective of everyone’s favorite recurring Seinfeld character, Tiger Woods.
“The War” Relationship-as-war metaphor. This is like the Wale version of that BOB song that I can’t remember the name of but it features the singer that I don’t recall. That BOB song was a big hit. This won’t be.
“The Black N Gold” f/ Sam Sparro I’ve never experienced it for myself because I’m too broke for blow or airplane tickets but I’m told that there’s a rising scene of every-genre pop records that are only big in L.A., international clubs, and on the Internet. White guys becoming huge off fusionist music that is equal parts hip-hop, euro dance, R&B, pop, and horrible. I take it Sam Sparro is one such artist, because his “Black and Gold” is basically all of those things and has more than 12 million views on YouTube. So Wale remixed it by adding rapps and Baltimore-styled breaks. I think he secretly wishes he didn’t have any obligations to the hip-hop world and could just make music like this all of the time, thereby doubling the number of times his music would appear in strip club scenes on Entourage. I just googled Sam Sparro and it turns out he is openly gay. So I take it this is supposed to be Wale’s Eminem/Elton John moment?
“The Manipulation Pt. 2” A sequel to the relationship split-screen track from the first Nothing tape. Assuming the first half of this is, in fact, intended as parody, then Wale is a pretty excellent conscious-rap parodist: “Black mother of the earth you know I forever owe ya/I will never ignore you ’cause I’m forever loyal/let’s fall in love/let me put my seed in your soil!” THEN IT GETS HARD AND HE “FUCKING SHERYL CROWS THESE HOES.” WHATEVER THAT MEANS IT SOUNDS HARD AS FUCK. HARDEST SHERYL CROW PUNCHLINE EVER.
“KD Interlude” Very important athlete Kevin Durant knows who Wale is.
“The Posse Cut (Who Don’t)” f/ Fat Trel & Black Cobain Yes, we are now entering the more rugged part of the tape. This is one of the songs that got Wale in trouble at Artscape, so you already know it’s gonna be good. And probably not about girls and pre-cum. It’s just totally generic rap music, right down to the Wayne sample, but respectably so. Trel and Cobain, both D.C. residents, are definitely positive influences on Wale. He needs to rock more of this mindless rap shit, less LA cokehead party music and songs about his feelings.
“The Guilty Pleasure (No Hands)” f/ Waka Flocka Flame & Roscoe Dash This isn’t even a Wale record, but a Flocka record, but it was tacked onto the tape because it’s becoming something of a minor hit. So yeah, any conceptual integrity this tape might have had just went out the window. Unless I missed the Seinfeld where George compels Elaine to “drop it to the floor” because he loves the way her booty goes. Still this is a pretty great record, as we discussed previously. In fact hearing it in the middle of all this confusion is a huge relief. It’s not cute the way Wale needs to rename it “The Guilty Pleasure” as to coax his fanbase into listening to a song with Flocka on it. Better a shameless party record than the “The Innocent Displeasures” that comprise much of Wale’s recent catalog.
“The Ambitious Girl” He is doing this spoken word slam poetry thing for real, huh? 1998 called, it wants its headwrap back.
“The Cloud” f/ Tiara Thomas Yeah we are seriously listening to this sort of sub India.Arie acoustic neo soul two songs after a Waka Flocka banger. Please pick a target audience and stick with it. Tiara Thomas seems to be an unsigned artist who does Unplugged-era Lauryn Hill style acoustic covers of popular rap songs on YouTube.
“The Get Away (Fly Away)” f/ Northeast Groovers Kravitz via NEG via Wale. His and producers Best Kept Secret’s Go-Go remixes usually sound fuller than this.
“The Get Away (Outro)” Wale doesn’t even bother bringing anything Seinfeldian into the outro, it’s just a gang of spoken shout-outs. I think he forgot what the tape was supposed to be about like five songs ago. Or maybe he just took the “nothing” conceit a bit too literally.
Related: Trent Reznor swagger jacks with his own Mixtape About Fraiser