To be completely honest, it took me three full days of listening to truly understand Wale’s anticipated “The Album About Nothing.” When I saw “About Nothing” in the title, I looked forward to another Seinfeld-themed project from the DMV artist. So there I was, my first listening day, and I was immediately disappointed. My initial reaction was that there was too much Seinfeld. His mixtape “The Mixtape About Nothing” had samples from the vintage TV show, with Jerry Seinfeld and other cast members citing lines.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I know it wasn’t to hear even more samples! Almost every track had either a sample of the show or of a conversation between Wale and Jerry. Sure, I sat in anticipation for another “About Nothing” themed project, but my heart sunk when it sounded almost exactly like the mixtape. My first impression was that it didn’t “wow” me.
I’m not sure if I was just hungover from the ride Action Bronson’s debut “Mr. Wonderful” took me on or not, but by the second day I was sure I went crazy. Was this the same album I had just listened to all day the day before?
The weather finally broke. With my car windows rolled down on the 70-degree day, The Album blasted from my speakers as I drove through town. I remember there being an “ahh snap” as I heard him say “B*tch I’m the savior of the DMV” in “The God Smile” and “Rah, rah, DC means ‘don’t come,’ in “The Success.”
Ironically, the R&B tracks of this hip hop album grabbed my attention the most this second go around. “The Matrimony” had me driving with heart eyes. I swayed side to side to Stoklely Williams’ sweet sounding “Baby, let your hair down, let it loose. There’s no need to be scared now, cause I’m with you” in “The Bloom.” I was hooked by the hook on “The Need to Know”, sung by the oh so talented SZA.
The sun shone down on my Honda Civic as the DJ Dahi beats from “The Helium Balloon” rang through the speakers. The second impression was that the was a well put together body of work where the musicality of Wale and his guest artists shined.
On the third day I listened to the album, I was most impressed. I’ve been listening to Wale for what seems like forever, and I’ve usually liked his music. However, this was the most artistic project he’s released. “The Mixtape About Nothing” was just the beginning, and Wale picked up right where he left off. Each track in both projects are even named in the same style as the Seinfeld episodes are.
On the first listening day, I wondered where his obsession with Jerry Seinfeld came from. I realized how much he related his life to the show, and how he translated that to what he does best. Lyrically, “The Album” is one of the best Wale has ever written. Lines like “But why complain about the man, when a n*gga with my skin, the same problems with them I had, is out there killin’ n*ggas too?” in “The Pessimist” and “Politicians and n*ggas living it on the rip. And my position to give this sh*t to little kids is not official unless I’m giving them authentic” in “The Girls on Drugs” let us know that hip hop can still have a message.
After 72 hours of the same fourteen tracks replaying over and over, what do I have to say about it? Don’t sleep on “The Album About Nothing.” Here I am, on day six, and it’s only getting better and better.