Song of The Year-The White Shoes by Wale
Not to get super militant on anyone but can you imagine a world where Wale is white and still as talented as he is? Can you imagine the exposure/built in audience he would have to choose from? Instead Wale is not white and not slam poetry enough for most critics who call him out for being smarmy and making irritating jokes (that they would think pretty clever if the right rapper said them). What’s lost in all this is how good Wale is; ever since he went to MMG he has been the most consistent of the crew (outside of the bawse). He takes every verse seriously and does as much work with subjects closer to his heart as jokes (maybe more) but what separates him is he knows how to organize an album better than his co-workers.
His new album The Album About Nothing is cleverly organized and a good listen. He sits down with Seinfeld for a conversation about life and success, instead of blowing that audio on an intro or interludes; pieces are broken off and give the songs their heart. It grounds the album in a simple conversation between someone who not only got all the success he ever imagined but never let it lead him around and someone newer still figuring out how to deal with random NBA commentators clowning him for no reason.
In an interview about the album Seinfeld said Wale has a “hypnotic quality to his voice” and this song is a pretty good example of that. You can feel Wale searching for Seinfeld’s famous grounded composure while singing the chorus. Wale wasn’t really put here to make sensitive backpacker tracks, his anthems are better the bigger they get; the voices coming together with him as he sings the chorus and the drums charging in all suits the grand scale he wants to achieve. The Album About Nothing is not as good as Wale’s best album Ambition, but that’s a high bar. It’s still a lot of fun and carries with it a lot of heart. In a year full of important releases don’t miss what Wale’s been trying to put together for years; an album well worth the wait.