When a dynamic artist like Wale goes back to the drawing board after an album with mixed reviews and a few tumultuous life events, it represents a major step forward for better or worse. Good thing for the DC rapper and his fans, yesterday’s release of The Album About Nothing represents the former in a big way.
Wale comes off significantly humbled in his latest effort; a mindset heavily influenced by a slew of pivotal points in the Capitol native’s recent life. In the past two years since 2013’s The Gifted, he’s gone through losing a child in his girlfriend’s miscarriage, a beef with with MMG labelmate Meek Mill, and descending into a downward spiral of self-medication and detachment. So in many respects, this record is deeply personal and the raw emotion was poured on wax which might be why Nothing sounds a lot more like an album and not just another mixtape.
Wale’s signature flow, simultaneously frenetic and blunt, is back with a gusto over plenty of church organs, synth and horns with some on-point features from the likes of J. Cole, Usher, SZA, and Jeremih. The DMV rapper speaks on reaching out to Diplo for beats, feelings of hopelessness, turbulent relationships and how he defines success, all sandwiched in between obligatory clips of Seinfeld and actual conversations between Wale and Jerry Seinfeld that break up the track order nicely. And seriously, if you haven’t heard some of their conversation, do yourself a favor and have a quick listen.
As a guy who didn’t particularly like The Gifted (or much of Ambition, if we’re being completely honest), The Album About Nothing is much more sonically pleasing to my ears. It sounds much more like a cohesive album instead of a collection of mixtape tracks or a smorgasbord of slowjams and bangers in alternating order. The album is soulful, poppy and smooth and it really showcases Wale’s lyrical talent. I found myself gravitating to one of the lead singles, The Matrimony, as well as tracks like The Glass Egg, The Pessimist and the album’s opener, The Intro About Nothing.
That is, until Yeezy season hits. Oh God I’m so excited.
Original album review can be found on theauxjack.com.