Culture of Pop

Wale: ‘The Album About Nothing’ Examined


Wale has recently released a video for his single “Girls on Drugs” which comes off his latest project The Album About Nothing. As per typical Wale style, he delves  into delivering commentary on the societal issue of vanity that has recently been escalated by the dominance of social media. The video details the life of a group of young narcissistic women that attempt to fill the obvious voids in their life with drugs, partying, and superficial internet attention. Then insert rapper, Wale who attempts to show the deficiencies in her flawed lifestyle. In true “Girls on Drugs” fashion she dismisses his well intentioned monologue and storms out of the penthouse only to cry in the elevator.


The song stays true to the vibe of the album which relies on heavily introspective interpretations of the world from the rapper’s eyes. He is accompanied by Jerry Seinfeld who serves as a muse of sorts while guiding Wale through the various subjects he is approaching which include marriage, intimate relationships, vanity, friendships, and fame.

The album has been polarizing for critics, there have not been many that have placed this album in the middle, but reviews tend to skew to different extremes. Ranging from this is Wale’s “best and most personal work” according to Billboard- to he has lost his way and is reaching for sounds that should be reserved for other artist, according to Pitchfork.

The album is composed of several, for a back of better words, vibed-out tracks that opt for giving a feeling opposed to previous albums that were laden with lyrical assaults like “Simple Man” and “Legendary”. However, in my humble opinion, the execution on the vibed-out tracks more than make up from the divergence from the typical wordplay we’ve become accustomed to. Songs like the “God Smile” and “One Time in Houston” provide the listener with an atmosphere that can often be missed when artist rely solely on bars. There are also still lyrical gems throughout all of the songs even if that doesn’t appear to be the absolute intention and tracks like the “Glass Egg” and “The Intro About Nothing” show that Wale has lost no edge on his pen game. The album concludes with some female friendly records such as “Body like a Benz” and “Matrimony” which feature classic R&B hooks . Not to be forgotten is one of the best collabs I’ve heard in quite some time, “The Need to Know”. Wale lays out the trajectory of most of his intimate relationship while Sza’s soulful vocals adorn the chorus which happens to be the same chorus taken from a classic Musiq Soulchild song. The relationship with J. Cole also worked to his advantage as Cole also serves up another great hook on “The Pessimist”.

The other video release from the album “White Shoes” also takes a look at the vanity in our current culture but this time through the lens of sneakers. This obviously serves as a metaphor for a deeper rooted issue of materialism but Wale masterfully manages to blend the two together to create this feel good track. Although there have been some critics left unsatisfied by the album, I believe it is safe to say that if you’re a fan of the About Nothing series you will not be disappointed.


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