It's a challenge sometimes to visit certain industry events when it's 24 degrees outside but, for Wale, I braved the cold to make it up to Tom's Restaurant in Harlem, NY. I spot a few of my peoples like Aqua Boogie (HipHop Wired), Jayson Rodriguez (Revolt TV), JP DelaCuesta (TMZ), Lowkey (You Heard That New), Ebro, Rosenberg, Miss Info (Hot 97), DJ Drama, and of course Elliott Wilson (Rap Radar) was hosting the nights festivities.
So the places is intimate but loaded with NYC industry, and the concept was very cool, order anything on the menu for an "open food" event. Great because AllHipHop's Elijah and I came there hungry and left full. After we ate our fill, the timing was perfect because in comes a mob of Blue Moon jacket's and Wale in the midst of the grand entrance. Also, Rick Ross walked in soon after to support his artist on this special listening event.
Wale walks around the entire venue and shakes everyone's hands. An Atlantic rep introduces me to Wale and Wale interrupts him and says "Of course I know Steve." Wale and I go back from the Breeding Ground days and The Next 48 Hours With Wale. I seen sides of Wale few people have seen, so I know his potential and I congratulate him on another dope album before I even hear this album, why ... because this is Wale and he's dope.
Here are some songs I had time to review:
"Girls on Drugs"
This song got a Janet Jackson clearance for the hook and throughout the song. The subject matter is direct and to the point, he raps about girls on drugs. Wale explains he played this the first day he saw Meek in Philly and the crowd went nuts over the track. Ross agreed that Wale's had a hit on his hands and they needed to get this album completed.
"The Pessimist" Ft. J Cole
Starts of with power build up of lyrics with a matching beat that also gains momentum. Wale reminds us of how there is no love in various life instances like no love from racist cops toward innocent Black youth. The song reflects the negative life experience and a plea of being hopeless at the end of the song.
On the flip side, this song takes back in time right before his first record deal when he sold mixtapes to the suburbs and pick up chics in the hood. From selling sneakers in the sneaker shop to a record deal, this covers that part of Wale's life. He uses a slower melodic flow with a lot of delivery and flare in his lyrics. A dope choirs that sounds like a talented youth choir, brings the song together nicely. The drums really give it the his and lows you want from a song talking about success.
"The Helium Balloon"
Jerry Seinfeld talks about flying with your success/music. This song stress his lyrical ability along with the growth and extends his range with a bridge from a Reggae singer. Nice mix and Wale takes us to a new place with his repertoire.
"The Middle Finger"
Wale explains that he just went off on someone on Twitter and went into the "red room" and vented his frustration with Ross about Twitter trolls. Ross simply responded bay calling them "weirdos" and why he even gave a fuck? Even Wale asked why he cares? So he explains that this song that this was hi medication to deal with the trolls and DJs that might talk slick that he doesn't care. The flows works great with the beat and the message is clear.
"The Glass Egg"
Starts with a theatrical sound like something you might hear from American Gangster movie score but, Wale claims the track with his lyrics in combination for his flare full delivery. Solid song about friends.
"The God Smiles"
Wale also calls the song "illuminate" because that is what moons (referencing The Blue Moon) illuminates at night . The bass heavy track includes a sample of someone saying "God smiles" as a sample and Wale burst in with a slow semi-singing with a blend sharp precise lyrics and melodic slow singing. Great mix that shows more range and energy.
Song for the ladies. Wale inserts this uplifting song that reflected Wale circa 2007. Very melodic hook and positive track. Hip-Hop needs more of this music.
"The Matrimony" Ft. Usher
Seinfeld starts off with a skit as he talks about how a narrator can sneak up on you and make you a new person. wale admits he has the rapper talks about the lady lane and this song inspired him as a new scoop rapper that grew up on Ne-Yo's and Usher's of the time and this is how his matrimony would go for his future wife.
Wale thanked Ross from understanding doing a project about nothing. We all know he did The Mixtape About Nothing and More About Nothing mixtape. Wale says that he wanted to complete the trilogy and make this last part an actual album. I have to say, any rapper that can get Jerry Seinfeld on an mixtape AND album has some major clout. Wale knows this is a passion project and thanked Ross for believing in this project.
This album represents his life as a hungry artist reaching new horizons, this album is a glimpse back on his struggles and transition from regular guy trying to be a rap star to a star being a star. I'm a fan of Wale and I think he knocked it out the park on this album, successful in scope and lyrics on this preliminary listen, I give this a 9 out of 10.