Wale has given us his offering for 2015.
Wale’s much-hyped album (they all seem pretty hyped recently, we’ve been lucky too cause none of them have flopped) dropped yesterday. In case you haven’t heard/couldn’t tell from the title, he’s shouting out Seinfeld (the show about nothing) because apparently Jerry Seinfeld and Wale kick it now. Wale was the next big thing for a while, but he never really got all the respect you think he would, and he’s been fighting that. Anyways, this is Spit Talking’s The Album About Nothing Review.
The Album About Nothing is definitely not about nothing, but it makes sense as a concept. Jerry Seinfeld’s seemingly random presence definitely makes sense, and his intros help tie the themes of the tracks together. Wale’s going for something innovative here, and it’s fairly innovative on that end, but overall it’s some shit I dig but I’m not gonna go crazy for. It’s for sure worth a listen to see if you dig it and to check out the dope usage of Seinfeld, if nothing else. Wale doesn’t silence his haters with his album, but he might make them think a little bit.
For the dope way Jerry Seinfeld is used and the overall consistency and variety of this album (without ever being spectacular), I give The Album About Nothing a:
The Intro About Nothing
The album starts with a conversation between Wale and Jerry Seinfeld before some piano and a little singing comes in. Wale says he’s been too preoccupied with everything so it’s time for him to sing of nothing, and the album makes a little more sense now. He kicks a smooth verse on some R&B shit, and it’s nice. The beat gets a little more to it before it drops out again to just the piano for Wale. Even though it’s The Album About Nothing you can tell he’s trynna get some shit out and giving himself some space to do that from the beginning, even when the beat picks up a bit. He also says folks don’t care about albums, so why not give them an album about… and then he laughs.
The Helium Balloon starts with Jerry Seinfeld saying some more funny shit. Some soft guitar backs up Wale for what’s pretty much some spoken word before the beat actually comes in for Wale to start again. In between verses we get some more Seinfeld, which means they’re really doing this shit, it’s not just a shoutout, cause they’re tying it together. Wale talks about how folks hate on him but ultimately he says fuck who ignores him. The track ends with some Jamaican flow and a Buffalo Soldier shoutout before Wale finishes it off with some marching behind him saying fuck em.
The White Shoes comes in as the 3rd track with more Seinfeld but Wale comes in shortly singing a bit more about how they’re gonna judge you for life but you’ll be alright. This is a pretty personal but inspirational track that keeps going back to the white shoes, I’m feeling it. The Wale-Seinfeld thing is working out pretty well, and it’s pretty damn innovative, I gotta say.
The Pessimist comes in with the first feature, J. Cole and starts off with some more Seinfeld and George Constanza. The beat’s simple but sounds pretty uplifting, which is an interesting choice for a track called The Pessimist. It starts off with some quick shit about black men getting killed and some of the consequences and causes, with Wale explaining why he’s hopeless. J. Cole comes in singing about why he’s hopeless as the hook before Wale comes back in. Cole doesn’t kick a verse, but his hook is dope.
Seinfeld kicks off The Middle Finger saying people love talking, before Wale comes in over a hard beat rapping before he smooths it out to “fuck you leave me alone” for the hook. So yeah, that’s how Wale feels about the haters right about now. He goes pretty hard on this shit, and it’s probably the hardest he’s spit on the album so far. It makes a lot of sense why Wale brought Seinfeld of all people on for this shit, because Seinfeld probably knows exactly what Wale’s going through with that fame shit, and they play off each other well (though it’d be dope to hear a Seinfeld verse, ya feel me?)
Late night cooling
The 6th track is The One Time In Houston, and it starts with some atmospheric shit and a Seinfeld clip with more George Costanza. This is like some late night R&B cruising shit, and Wale’s been pretty versatile so far on this album. This track’s got an interesting, mad chill sound, and I like it. Whether he’s going hard or pulling back, dude can definitely carry a track.
Then we got The Girls On Drugs, and this album is definitely jumping around topics, so the title and the Seinfeld shoutout makes sense. This is also the first track that doesn’t start with Seinfeld or a clip from the show. This track’s alright and Wale spits a pretty solid verse, but then it gets this Kid Cudi-sounding autotune and I don’t really feel it. Again Wale talks about the haters that he’s dealing with, and he’s not just whining because he does have to deal with a lot of shit for like no reason. But then he talks about the women that he’s chilling with and it’s all good but then it gets a little deeper and a little darker. I don’t love this track, but I can appreciate it.
The God Smile starts off with what sounds like some underground synth, continuing the atmospheric vibe (and again, no Seinfeld at the beginning… or at least the first 45 seconds.) It’s a chill beat but Wale’s going for short bursts of rap in between singing, but he’s spitting some fire. This shit is an anthem, and I like the easy switch between spitting and singing, and Wale spits some real shit about what’s going on in the streets and in society.
SZA makes a highlight
Then we get The Need To Know and another feature, the always-dope SZA, but Seinfeld and Elaine kick this one off. The beat comes in with some real smooth gangsta shit, but like wearing some fur at the casino gangsta, not gunfights in the streets gangsta. SZA’s vocals make this sound like it’s the soundtrack for the first black James Bond movie, and it’s a good fucking sound. This is for sure one of the best tracks on the album. Seinfeld and Elaine come back in to tie the theme of the track together, and it’s pretty fucking funny, then SZA sends it off.
The Success starts with a choir and some electro under Seinfeld saying success is the enemy. Wale spits some more real shit but also challenges his haters again. He’s as likely to rap about why the haters gotta shut up as he is to rap about social issues on this shit, but it works. This is a pretty solid track, but it’s not the dopest shit I’ve ever heard.
Life is a glass egg
The Glass Egg comes in as the 11th track with a beat I like more than the last one, and it lets Wale get a little more serious with it. This beat just sounds aspirational, even with Wale comparing life to a glass egg and praying he don’t change. A lot of this album is about fame and what comes with it, so again it makes a lotta sense he brought Seinfeld in for this shit even though he ain’t a rapper or anything. This track goes pretty hard, but it’s not exactly a banger. The track fades out with some nice uncredited vocals.
Then it flows into The Bloom (AG3), which starts with some real smooth soul shit before some singing sets the stage for Wale to spit some romantic shit. This sounds like a modern take on R&B/Rap from like 13 years ago, and I can definitely dig it. It almost sounds like it’s got just a touch of something that would be backing up Marvin Gaye in there. All in all, you can tell dude’s digging deep.
Shit gets real
The Matrimony starts with some more Seinfeld and has got an Usher feature. Usher sings over an interesting beat that’s kind of weird at first but slips into something smooth. Wale comes in spitting about how he’s in his late 20s but still hasn’t been to a wedding. The transition from Wale to Usher’s chorus is well done, but I’m not feeling this track as much as I was some of the other R&B-leaning shit on the album. He gets mad deep and personal on this one, even touching on depression after his ex-girlfriend’s miscarriage. It’s some real shit, but I think it would have been better at a little shorter than 6 and a half minutes (but I ain’t talking shit though.) Seinfeld finishes off the track talking about women and marriage.
Jeremih is a feature on The Body, which finishes off the album with some more R&B/Drake-type shit. It’s solid, but I just get the feeling that Wale’s holding back or something or trying to keep it too smooth, and that he could be doing better. I guess he’s trynna send off the album with this track, but it doesn’t seem to do the rest of the album justice, and it’s kind of an awkward finale. It’s dope, but I don’t know if it should be ending an album.
The Album About Nothing is definitely an interesting experiment, and Wale did more with Jerry Seinfeld than I expected him to. I still think it could have been doper, but it’s consistently solid and nothing on it’s trash. Wale’s haters are still gonna talk shit, but they shouldn’t, cause even though this won’t win any end-of-year awards it’s still a dope album and mad innovative with that Jerry Seinfeld team-up. Shit, who knows, maybe years from now we’ll point to this as a game-changing album for boldly blending hip hop and comedy.