Wale — More About Nothing
By Denzel Codrington
In 2008, Washington D.C. rapper Wale released an acclaimed mixtape titled “The Mixtape About Nothing”. The title shouldn’t fool you however as Wale cleverly chopped excerpts from the popular 90s sitcom Seinfeld (of which he claims to have seen every episode) and used the subject matter of the excerpts to construct new and interesting concepts for songs. Throughout the tape he touched upon subjects such as the word “nigga” in a song appropriately titled “The Kramer” due to the Michael Richards incident, relationship manipulation, and plain rapper boasting. The mixtape about nothing was actually a mixtape about just about everything. As he says in the opening song of the tape “If you love substance than you love Wale/ but most n*ggas love nothing so I made this tape”.
Fast forward two years, Wale has released his critically acclaimed debut album “Attention Deficit” and returned to the mixtape scene with a sequel to “The Mixtape about Nothing” titled “More about Nothing”. Continuing the format of the first tape he samples more Seinfeld clips and runs circles around them. Lyrically Wale is in top-form as usual, re-affirming any doubt that he isn’t one of the most skilled lyricists in hip-hop (even if his album sales don’t reflect it). He opens the mixtape with “The Problem” where he addresses his disappointing debut album sales with lines like “my sh*t was submarine like, under shipped” as well as fans disappointment of its first single, the Lady Gaga assisted “Chillen” where he says “Everybody judged me off a single I ain’t even pick.”
Later on “The Manipulation 2” he starts with an accapella style love-rap similar to Common interspersed with another Seinfeld excerpt where Lois discusses interactions between men and women before and after sex then switches flows to a misogynistic style verse. It is a clever idea that shows the manipulation some men use on women. In many of the songs throughout the album he shows many different sides to relationships, such as break-ups “The Break-Up Song”, “The War”. “The Friends Stranger” talks about relationships with friends due to Wale’s success as well as what happens when close friends become romantically involved.
Where “More About Nothing” falters is its lack of completely new ideas. While “The Manipulation 2” is an expertly crafted song, its not an original idea as the first one appeared on the first tape in the series. While these are all new songs they many seem like cuts that were left off of “The Mixtape About Nothing” and were thrown on here as sort of a b-sides compilation. If you can’t get enough of Wale you should definitely check it out since it’s a free online mixtape and better than most full-length studio albums released in awhile but if you’ve heard the first mixtape and expecting the same caliber content as that, maybe you should just skip it.