Wale...Changing The Mixtape Game

. Jun 8, 2008

Anybody who has listened to Wale's "The Mixtape About Nothing" knows that this joint is a gem and is a brilliantly coherent drop. I usually don't do this, but I'm loving the review I saw over from the people at Passion of the Weiss. The review is beast as Weiss really does recognize just how much Wale is changing the mixtape game. Below I included just a couple of excerpts from the review by Weiss and be sure to drop some love.

Wale Realizes the Full Potential of the Mixtape
(Click to the rest the rest)

"...For those just tuning in, over the past year Wale has built a name for himself as one of the most promising rappers around, dropping the impressive 100 Miles & Running mixtape, signing to Interscope, earning the cover of Urb, a spot on EW’s Top 8 To Watch in 08 list and placement on the main stage of this year’s Rock the Bells tour. But for all the attention he’s already accrued, Wale’s conceptually brilliant The Mixtape About Nothing not only justifies the acclaim, but deserves to put him on anyone’s short list of the best rappers of his generation.

From “The Opening Title Sequence,” where Wale flows over the gurgling Seinfeld bass line, to “The End Credits,” Wale’s songs burst with ideas. The guy’s got an opinion on everything from the myriad problems facing the rap world to the press to illegal downloading, to the DMV and how its possible that Eddie Murphy could get a wife, ex-wife and baby mother all in the same year. Whereas it could easily come off as sub-emo whining, Wale succeeds because of his ability to reconcile contradictions. He’s moral without being moralizing, he’s smart but not nerdy, he’s critical but not conscious. Jonathan Bradley apt described him “as a uniter, not a divider, with a strongly backpacker aesthetic with a breakout song that features Bun-B and Pusha-T. He expresses strong affection for the idiosyncratic sound (go go) of his hometown, but makes it palatable for those who have never heard it before. He combines Southern efficiency with Northern charm. He’s the kind of rapper everyone wants...”

"...Utilizing familiar, amusing snips of Seinfeld dialogue, a shout-out from Julia Louis-Dreyfus and clips from Kramer’s racist outburst, Wale ingeniously weaves skits with song concepts, intelligently covering a gamut of topics ranging from race to culture to inter-personal relationships. Whenever dudes like Kanye or Lupe try to speak “consciously,” they at best sound polemical and strident, at worst muddled and vague. By contrast, Wale evidences an almost Obama-like ability to simplify complicated topics and re-organize them in sober, clear light. In particular, his almost uncomfortable honesty and deeply reflective revelations on “The Kramer” turn it into one of the smartest and most resonant songs to grapple with race in recent memory.

The most exciting part about The Mixtape About Nothing is getting to hear a young rapper with new ideas. Granted, Wale probably owes a certain debt to Kanye, Lupe and yes, Lil Wayne for making it okay for rappers to be weird again. But Wale goes out of his way not to compare himself to any big names, declaring on “The Artistic Integrity,” that “they say, I’m Jay-Z, they’re say I’m Kanye, they say I’m Lil Wayne…why can’t they say that I’ve found my own lane.” He’s no impostor trying to inherit an imaginary throne. He’s just trying to be Wale. Which sounds normal in theory but isn’t when every new major label goon over the decade has tried to foist the notion that they’re the next [insert Pac, BIG, or Jay-Z here ]..."