To truly understand Wale’s latest album, The Album About Nothing, one must be aware of his past projects. Go back eight years to 2008 when Wale released The Mixtape About Nothing. The tape was inspired by the hit 90s sitcom, Seinfeld, which has been dubbed “the show about nothing.” Both The Mixtape About Nothing and its 2010 sequel, More About Nothing, included skits from and references to the show and have become fan favorites. Unlike his “Nothing” mixtapes, The Album About Nothing includes vocals from Jerry Seinfeld recorded specifically for the project after him and Wale had formed a friendship. It seems that this mentorship from Seinfeld pushed Wale to create his best album yet.
“The Intro About Nothing” opens with short back-and-forth dialogue between Wale and Seinfeld that leads into a simple piano beat backed by Wale’s harmonizing. It’s a feel-good song that works as the perfect opener to this album. It’s followed by “The Helium Balloon” on which Seinfeld speaks metaphorically about a helium balloon, between Wale rapping over a dope beat. The best part of the track is the catchy singing from reggae artist Magazeen, who is uncredited, at the end of the song. “The White Shoes” opens with a story from Jerry Seinfeld which then leads Wale to spit some relatable lines about personality, fashion, and positivity. It’s a great song that features a meaningful chorus sung by Wale himself.
The great songs just keep on coming after the opening three. “The Pessimist” features a hook by J. Cole. He sings “falling out with my friends again / but it makes no difference to me… lord knows I’m hopeless / still I pray.” The track inspires to have hope even when there seems to be none. “The Middle Finger” discusses Wale’s struggles to be accepted by the rap community and how he wanted to quit rapping. I feel for Wale as he sings “f*** you / leave me alone” over and over again. It makes the listener realize that it’s not easy trying to meet someone’s standards and constantly being ridiculed. It’s a good, eye-opening track. “The One Time and Houston” really switches up the sound with a dark, slow beat that features deepened vocals that work together to create a crazy song. The track also features some dialogue from Seinfeld between Jerry, George, and Elaine.
The best song on the entire album is “The Girls on Drugs.” Previously featured on Wale’s Festivus mixtape, the song uses an infectious sample of Janet Jackson’s 1998 song “Go Deep.” The song discusses exactly what the title says: girls on drugs. Despite their drug-use, Wale reminds that they “still need love.” I know that I’ll be playing this one for a long time to come. “The God Smile” features some catchy rhyming over an equally catchy beat that creates a happy feel. Wale sings “Lord shine / Lord shine your light on me” which quickly gets stuck in your head.
Another favorite of mine is “The Need to Know.” The song opens with a conversation between Jerry and Elaine from an episode of Seinfeld that sets the mood for the song’s theme of friends wanting to have sex. The beat is fused with SZA’s humming which sounds amazing, as does the hook that she sings. The song is wonderful. “The Success” is a track about how, as Jerry Seinfeld puts it, “success is the enemy.” It features a cool sample of singing that is used in place of a hook. The song is nothing special, but it’s still pretty enjoyable. This can be said about the next two songs as well: “The Glass Egg” and “The Bloom (AG3).” Both songs are good, they just seem to lack something that the other songs have.
Things take an even worse turn with the final two songs on the album “The Matrimony” and “The Body.” The former features Usher and the latter features Jeremih. Neither singer brings anything special to their respective tracks. Both songs kind of fall flat and “The Body” doesn’t work very well as the final track. In fact, the end of this album sort of drags and I honestly think it would have been better for it to end with “The Success.”
Besides the lackluster ending, this album is very good. Wale obviously gave it his all on this project and it really paid off. “The Girls on Drugs” and “The Need to Know” are two of his best songs of all time. This album is definitely worth checking out; I believe that all rap fans can find something in it that they can both appreciate and really enjoy. The Album About Nothing is really something – something special.