Arts Desk

Wale Watch: More Ado About Nothing

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

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  • tms

    Lmao this is the most hating ass review I've ever seen on anything ever in life

  • lucas childers

    this review has brought shame to its parenting periodical. clearly the author never intended to give this album an honest chance. people need not agree with me to garner my respect, but Mr. Noz cannot genuinely admit this account MOST ACCURATELY describes his listening experience. I understand i don't know this person at all and maybe their value system is the antithesis of wale's music, but if you are being paid to criticize an artist's form of expression, there is an accompanying obligation to TRY to see from the artist's point of view. Journalism. I would have more positive things to say about a bjork album. Kirkin' out about a Sheryl Crow line? the contrast of something so unattached to the rap game is what makes it artistic. Are you gonna label jigga whack because he made the hardest orphan annie sample ever? Fukk Outta Here, Andy. And why dismiss KD? DMV born and raised, prototypical NBA star of the future, and an all-around respectable man. You may not like the way Wale is defining D.C.'s culture on a national scope but he gives an honest interpretation of his experiences. For better or worse, Wale has integrity. You are a coward.

  • Andrew Noz

    I actually really liked the Sheryl Crow line.

  • Joe M

    I did a quick search and you haven't said a positive word about Wale in the last 2 years? Did you see Wale steal the whole bowl of candy from your grandma's porch on halloween or did he cut off your daddy on the beltway?

    Whatever it is, you need to let it go. As a "journalist" (which I am only guessing you are attempting to be) you should be A. Objective, B. Constructive and C. Knowledgeable, none of which you seem to be. I understand you may be trying to take the Pitchfork approach of bashing everything that doesn't fit your narrow, random taste but 1. its already been done and 2. its annoying when they do it, but even more annoying coming from a relative nobody.

    Leave your rants for your blog but for the sake of the CityPaper stop writing such cynical, over-critical, non-constructive and misinformed garbage. It drives away readership and Its embarrassing to your organization... seriously.

  • Rob

    Who ever wrote this article is a pure hater. The least you can do as a journalist is be open-minded. You need to quit. Too much haterade is not good for the soul.

  • Johnson M.

    F*ck you Mr. Noz, who are you anyways??? I hope the actual Nas smacks some sense into you. I just had to type that because thats how i feel. I dont know, maybe you got something against Wale but whatever. For the misinformed, the mixtape is nice. Listen and see why its spreading like wildfire.

  • iceberg

    Instead of me saying something wild on this website, I'm just not gonna visit this site anymore because of this Mr. Noz's article!

  • Javier

    hahahahaha. this is the biggest hater review I've read in my whole entire life. Mr.Noz is a clown, literally. haha there's nothing much to say, your probably reading this off your blackberry while your taking a shit. haha joke.

  • Lindemann

    This review achieves Byron Crawford levels of hatefulness. It's like a time trial for the Haytona 500. Noz's writing in general is thoughtful and interesting, so I assume he has just given up on Wale and is enjoying the pure fun of scorn. But I have listened to the mixtape too (2.5 times so far!) and enjoyed it. So there's that.

    BTW, if I wrote a haterish review, I'd definitely want to read the comments on that review on my BlackBerry while taking a shit. It would be right and salutary.

  • DS

    I don't know what this jagoff is listening to, but this tape rips. I've been listening non-stop since the release. Easily the best stuff Wale has put out thus far.

  • Young Jerz

    Why in the hell is a HOMETOWN paper hating on one of its own? And you wonder why DC aint "blew up" yet. This was a clever tape, wale showed versatility depth, and lyrical prowess. But like he said once before "Hate is the new love"

  • d_es

    All those saying noz should be using 'journalistic neutrality' need to fall back and understand that critics write SUBJECTIVELY, not OBJECTIVELY.

  • crisco

    i don't like you. i don't like you at all.

  • Hammer

    Wack ass review
    "Real niggas fuck with me, i dont give a fuck who dont"-Wale via Wayne

  • Malcolm Stells

    Unf*ckinbelievable.. who's the jackass writing this review, must be a Soulja Boy fan, or probably the guy Wale was talking to on his "The Skit (Untz Untz)" track!

  • Snaxx

    The mixtape was pretty good. It was actually intelligently place in the order it was because it was a mixtape about nothing. Because of the vast amount of subject matter it entails, it in essence is about nothing particular. Honestly you seriously should have thought about that before you went on your rant of how wale sucks as an artist and should stick to one genre. but anyway for those who want to know the Sheryl Crow line refers to the Sheryl Crow song "the first cut is the deepest". So fuck off with the bitchy whining. Its a fuckin mixtape

  • Fucda swiss watches

    nice share, great post,thanks

  • lijah24

    wale goes crazy on this mixtape.. & yu jus hating every chance yu get... & if yu ask me this is one of his best mixtapes, ur just a idiot dipshit that cant take the fact that ur a bitch & dnt kno wat real shit is