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Album Review: Wale – The Album About Nothing

2 min read

Back in 2008, Wale released The Mixtape About Nothing. The gimmick behind the release was its heavy references to Seinfeld, with the largest being a guest appearance by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the actress that played Elaine. In a sense, The Album About Nothing is a direct follow-up to the mixtape. Unfortunately it’s not exactly a successful venture.

Wale The Album About NothingThe Album About Nothing is an interesting case, as it featured direct input from Jerry Seinfeld himself as it was being created. Similarly to The Mixtape About Nothing, this album features extensive Seinfeld references, with nine of the fourteen songs featuring samples of Seinfeld’s stand-up, quotes from Seinfeld in the studio during the recording or direct audio from episodes of the show. The songs are all titled similarly to episodes of Seinfeld, and the album title is a direct reference to Seinfeld’s claims of being the “Show About Nothing”. It’s an interesting concept for a hip-hop album, but in practice the samples feel out of place.

None of the backing tracks bear any resemblance to the music used on the show, and instead the album features repeated usage of dated hip-hop productions that mostly tend to blend into each other, which is helped by Wale’s rapping. Most of the songs are over four minutes, and feel like they go on for a few minutes too long. Put together with the album’s sixty minute run time, it all gets to be a bit too much by the middle of the album, and it starts feeling like a chore to listen to. It reaches the point where you forget there was any Seinfeld referencing at all, and it just feels like any other album.

The Album About Nothing redeems itself somewhat for the last three tracks, which all feature singers instead of fellow rappers, and are all easy to listen to in comparison to what came before. The collaboration with Stokley Williams on The Bloom (AG3) is the stand out track here, with the mixture of the brass instruments and funk-driven atmosphere of the song working with Stokley’s soulful voice to make something different from the less interesting style of the rest of the album.

Having the last three songs on the album stand out like this isn’t a good thing though. When it takes fifty minutes for the album to get interesting, something hasn’t been done right. There was an interesting concept behind The Album About Nothing, but the execution didn’t match up. What could have been an interesting tribute to Seinfeld mixed with Wale’s own musicality and personal lyrics ends up sounding half-baked instead.