Ok, horrible album cover art and pseudo-spoken word aside, I can tolerate Wale quite a bit when he actually raps about something of substance. I have Paint a Picture still on my iPod and More About Nothing was one of my favorite tapes of all-time. Sadly, these days, that comes less often than not. I mean, between rapping about how he's gonna humble his girl's mean ass, possibly Iron Sheik-style, and rapping about how his woman's baby-maker tastes like pineapples with Mr. "And She Ain't ENO It," it seems that Mister "Raps about Nothing" is, well, rapping about nothing. And, then even when he tries to rap about something of substance, it comes out strained, as if he spent most of his best bars and stories trying to get on that now that's he's on, he has almost nothing to talk about.
And, then this shit drops.
"Love Hate Thing," a track that's equal parts "Dear Summer" and Jay-Z's verse on "Light Up" (I know, the fact that they're both Jay songs kind of dumbfounds me too), Mr. Folarin tackles his love-hate relationship with some of his brethren and with music as a whole. I'm pretty sure that parts of the track are subliminals that deal with his DMV-area conflicts over the years. I mean, any song that takes the "Dear Summer" approach tends to border on subliminal dissing. But, this isn't a site that delves into "da beef," unless completely needed. Besides, Wale's history is well-documented; you can just look it up. Either that or, you know, he's trying to preach to the entire DMV that DMV artists are too much like crabs-in-the-barrel (h/t Washington City Paper).
But, the track, as much as he does go back to "mixtape Wale", still hasn't grown on me like it should after several listens. And, don't start with the "it's over your head, Speed" fuckery. You know how I said that his more recent "substance"/"real shit for real people" tracks still sound strained/forced a bit these days?
Yeah. That was a thing here, too.
I mean, the guy is spilling parts of his soul and imparting some knowledge, and all I can muster is "meh, it's cool." The melody keeps the song afloat; if these bars, to me, were on any other track, I could give two fucks about it. But, the smoothness of the beat makes me go "Aight, Wale, I'm going to listen to this. I may still say 'meh' at the end. But, I'm going to listen to it and I'm gonna smile at a few points and even agree with you on other--even if I still say 'meh' at the end." It's not Wale's fault, per se. But, it is. Since 2005, the guy has put out seemingly annual mixtapes. Eventually, you're going to run out of shit to talk about. Either that, or you're going to end up sounding quite similar on shit that you're putting your soul on because you've said something similar five times over throughout the past eight years--either in mixtape, album, or featured appearance form.