Way back in October '07, BEATdown's Left Coast roommate Brandon Perkins wrote a cover story about a D.C. rapper named Wale (pronounced Wah-lay) and how he's the second coming and the biggest star nobody's heard of and etc. Perkins wrote:
The working musician may be a tired cliché two years into its acceptance, but Wale is perhaps the music world's first working celebrity. Being backed by Mark Ronson ... certainly doesn't hurt. Wale wasn't in Vegas to play some townie club. He was stealing the show at the VMAs by ripping apart Justice's hit single "D.A.N.C.E." But part of being a working celebrity is that the majority of the celebration comes from those within the industry circle. One MySpace message to Ronson after the MTV awards show mistakenly said that it was cool for him to bring on The Roots' Black Thought to spit over Justice. Wale is a celebrity that isn't yet famous.
OK, we thought, but the proof is in the pudding and I don't see even a hint of the gelatinous goodie.
And then it appeared this weekend. Glorious pudding.
Wale's first official mixtape, a Seinfeld-influenced self-announcement entitled The Mixtape About Nothing, has been burning up my iTunes ever since. It's available for free download here.
This is an effortless outing that showcases the young man's wit, hunger and deft technical aplomb. Some parts humorous (the Julia Louise-Dreyfuss drop -- "He's awesome, motherfuckaaaaa. What up." -- that leads into a new take on the eternal "All I Need" sample is one of the funniest rap moments in recent memory) and some parts incendiary ("The Kramer," below), Wale's important turn here is showing that not only does he have a classic album within him just begging to be tapped, but also that he truly has something to say. Listen to the Michael Richards-racist-rant-sampling "The Kramer" below and see for yourselves...