Wale – The Album About Nothing
Wale’s alignment with the Top 40 rap crowd never felt like a healthy fit. Since his 2011 alliance with Rick Ross Maybach Music, the D.C. rapper has found success but has never seemed comfortable with it. And the critical failure of his last album, 2013’s The Gift must have shaken him to his core, because at first blush, his latest effort, The Album About Nothing, screams “return-to-form.”
The title alludes to his 2008 “Seinfeld”-inspired breakthrough album The Mixtape About Nothing, which was distributed for free and included Fool’s Gold mogul Nick Catchdubs. Around this time, the first wave of “weirdo” nerd dudes emerged, including himself, Charles Hamilton, Kid Cudi, and a pre-pop B.o.B. They were all emotional, melody-obsessed, ambitious, and approachable.
Wale clearly remains frustrated with his inability to ascend to the top tier, and on Nothing he presents himself as a rap-industry antagonist. He burrows into the background of “The Middle Finger”, revealing his discomfort around other rappers and making a hook out of “Fuck you, leave me alone.
Fear is the main theme of the album About Nothing. Fear of pushing musical boundaries to foster one’s own creativity; fear of appearing weak and, consequently, denying his listeners access to himself; fear of becoming an outsider projecting a false hatred of the inside. If Wale could only break down those barriers and release an album where he doesn’t sound like a parody of himself (which is understandable given how much he likes “Seinfeld”), he might be able to reclaim the amnesty he has been clinging to over the past five years. Right now, he has nothing to lose.
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Wale’s The Album About Nothing Tracklist
01 The Intro About Nothing
02 The Helium Balloon
03 The White Shoes
04 The Pessimist f. J. Cole
05 The Middle Finger
06 The One Time In Houston
07 The Girls On Drugs
08 The God Smile
09 The Need To Know f. SZA
10 The Success
11 The Glass Egg
12 The Bloom (AG3)
13 The Matrimony f. Usher
14 The Body f. Jeremih (Bonus Track)
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