Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Best of 2008: #2 Wale - The Mixtape About Nothing

Wale - The Mixtape About Nothing (*****)
album review for the skinny

Lil Wayne might be the reigning king of the mixtape, but Washington DC rapper Wale (pronounced Wah-lay) must be next in line for the throne. His Seinfeld-themed Mixtape About Nothing has changed the game, raising the bar of what can be expected from a mixtape. The previously understood definition saw the mixtape as a low cost buzz builder, an excuse to freestyle in-between the real work, while the studio album was the fully committed artistic document. How can that still stand when Wale's free Mixtape About Nothing is as good as or better than almost every full cost hip-hop album in years? Wale is eminently likeable because he doesn't take himself too seriously despite the obvious intelligence behind his lines: in The Kramer, Wale's brilliant deconstruction of how the N-word is used is followed later, in The Chicago Falcon Remix, by the throwaway "I hate rap like Kramer hates blacks". But there are so many great rhymes here, and Wale's flow on top of the go-go funk-flavoured beats is astounding. Don't wait around for Wale's debut studio album, this is his arrival right here.

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