The Album About Nothing is Wale‘s dream collaboration with Jerry Seinfeld whose classic television show has been an inspiration for MMG’s third head throughout his career. Regarding Wale, his story has been a roller coaster ride to say the least. While he’s one of hip hop’s most popular artists, he’s at a point where he plays the role of the step child or the emotional baby brother who people poke fun at for the mere fact that it’s bound to elicit a fiery response. Things like this are what have deterred fans from judging Wale for his talent and have made them look at him as a ticking time bomb that will explode for the sake of retweets and sometimes even lead to public encounters.
Before the music, The Album About Nothing succeeds in its presentation. The combination of Wale and Seinfeld comes together in the form of a mentor to protege relationship with skits and proverbs from Jerry and his show preceding each song. “The Need To Know” leads in with an excerpt from an episode from Seinfeld titled the “The Deal” where Jerry and Elaine flirt wit the idea of a casual relationship. “The Matrimony” features an original conversation between Wale and Seinfeld speaking on the life transition of being engaged and marriage. The addition of Seinfeld is a nice touch. Not overbearing, not contrived, but organic within the scope of what Wale is looking to accomplish.
Musically the album has it’s moments. One of Wale’s main strengths is his ability to craft “nicely dressed” songs for an easy listening experience. “The Need To Know” eases and creeps. Wale has always sounded at home when speaking about all facets of a relationship. He walks the beat along for two verses before SZA‘s splendid rendition of Musiq Soulchild’s “Just Friends.”
“The White Shoes” and the J. Cole assisted “The Pessimist” both serve their purposes as anthemic grandiose records. “The Pessimist” will draw ire for the fact that J. Cole only handles hook duties, but it’s done in good taste. Wale takes control of the Osinachi’s triumphant backdrop to speak on issues that plague the black community with a twist ending. It has to be said that if Kendrick Lamar didn’t put out “The Blacker The Berry” just a month before The Album About Nothing, this song may have not been so overlooked. “The White Shoes” is another anthemic song where Wale exercises his right to harmonize as he speaks on the correlation between his passion for sneakers and the negative effects it’s had on people growing up in his neighborhood. Though a bit melodramatic, the song stands out as an easy favorite.
The album falls in Wale’s neglect of risk taking. Everything feels extremely safe and almost as if Wale had a checklist of “types of songs” to make on the album—a theory that fits the way that every song is titled in the same fashion. The only moment that widens your eyes at Wale’s artistic prowess a bit is the enjoyable “The One Time In Houston,” but it’s clear where the inspiration comes from there. It seems as if the album was more concerned with its sonic aesthetic than leaving you with moments that stick and make you want to revisit it. Easy on the ears is good, but an artist who approaches being conscious like Wale should want to provoke your thoughts a bit more at this stage of the game.
Still, The Album About Nothing is a solid effort. Wale gets a terrible rap due to some unfavorable decisions he’s made throughout his career. He’s that guy whose jokes some people may never laugh at no matter how funny they are because of how they feel about the man, not the music. Some of his peers have dropped works that match what Wale’s done and have gotten much warmer responses. The Album About Nothing is actually about a lot, but it’s just uneventful.