Local spin: Wale’s More About Nothing

Wale was waving the DMV flag for the entire region just a few months ago – he still might be, but he is now established, not buzzing. This summer, the Largo rapper comes hard with his first work since major label “Attention Deficit,” which had strong songs but didn’t make us the next Peach State.

Hos out in Boston/Hos out in Crofton - gems like that will keep DMVers and Maryland geographers stated.

Hos out in Boston/Hos out in Crofton - gems like that will keep DMVers and Maryland geographers stated.

“More About Nothing” is the second of Wale’s Seinfeld-inspired mixtapes, and this one leans heavily on the theme. The songs don’t segue smoothly, and the knock is frequently interrupted by George and Jerry’s monologues, which alternate between inspiring smiles and disrupting the bump. My hope was hip-hop was getting away from playlist-clogging skits, but these NBC clips serve the same purpose. Nick Catchdubs didn’t mix this one, instead it was DJ Omega, likely a factor. Still, “The Soup,” which weaves in the Soup Nazi’s “No soup for you” theme, does Seinfeld right.

And though I came far/I know I got a way to go/Waiting for Pitchfork to say Wale on it’s a way to go

The song, which should tickle the hipstars, responds to insinuations that he canceled a show celebrating gay pride, then disses the Post for reporting it. It’s a hot track, but somehow on the same disc is “The Guilty Pleasure (No Hands)” feat. Waka Flaka (really dude, that’s your name?) and Roscoe Dash, which is auto-tune garbage. The song might be a joke, but it’s plodding thump does not suit Wale; I could only get through it once.

A new theme rather than a sequel might have served Wale well, if only to increase his image of versatility. And he is surely versatile, comfortable over go-go, Golden-Age era beats, techno and southern sizzurp. His collab with Wiz Khalifa, the catchy but unpolished weed-scented Pittsburgh rapper who started to blow at the exact same time as Wale, is a great pairing of different styles.

The go-go inspiration, dialed back on “Attention Deficit,” is back in a big way, with appearances by the Northeast Groovers, UCB (which tours with Wale) and Best Kept Secret, the Southwest masters of go-go wrapped hip-hop. The presence of scratching, much of it spinning old Wale quotes, stands out amid pop rap’s digital sheen.

The first five tracks are knocking. Things later go off the rails – similar sounding songs, long sound bites and plodding love songs. Could be personal preference, but 12 songs of straight nodding would come off as more polished than the fits and starts created by “The Break Up Song” and “The Manipulation Pt. 2” interrupting other hot tracks.

The good definitely outweighs the bad though; I have been a frequent listener of Wale for so long I could never be fully sated. This disc is full of good, creative hip-hop and has crossover appeal, which comes with its own problems. Just like “Attention Deficit,” Wale spreads himself so thin that no listener is going to be 100 percent satisfied, but in his defense, he is constantly trying new things and pushing the envelope.That has to be applauded.

With that in mind, plug this into your Civic, turn the speakers up, and keep your hand on the skip button.

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One Response to Local spin: Wale’s More About Nothing

  1. Pingback: Wale’s greatest hits | DC Crank Tank

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