Wale Brings 'Nothing' to the Roseland Theater

Vortex Music Magazine

Surely the 'Seinfeld'-obsessed D.C. rapper aims to offer more than 'Simply Nothing' when his tour of the same name hits Portland on January 22.

 The Mixtape About Nothing was released in 2008. With Seinfeld voice-overs laced throughout, there are various George samples, a Jerry monologue at the beginning of “The Hype,” and real-life Julia Louis-Dreyfus (not Elaine) even makes an appearance in the fade-out of “The Vacation From Ourselves” as each song is peppered with signature catchphrases and jokes from the series.

In 2010, Wale released a follow-up mixtape, fittingly titled More About Nothing, which carried on in a similar fashion featuring classic Seinfeld phrases and a nostalgic ‘90s hip-hop sound. Wale has continually cited Seinfeld as a source of inspiration, which may come from the fact that he has seen every episode "like, 30 times." 

Wale has also referred to go-go, a genre of funk that originated in his hometown of Washington, D.C., as a basis for his sound. He has said, "It’s just something that’s subconsciously added to my music." The ‘70s-inspired dance sound that accompanies the majority of Wale’s tracks complement his drumlines and backing instruments, which often come together to sound like a grand celebration with dragged-out brass and catchy drum patterns. His songs are often so layered with beats, samples and vocals that I find myself pausing the music in my internet browser, wondering if another tab is playing a completely different song. Most songs come together wonderfully in a mashup of record scratches, baritone raps, iconic ‘90s samples, scratchy female crooners, and bouncy beats that are almost hard to process as a single entity. Once you get down to it, Wale’s lyricism ranges from fun-loving Seinfeld inside jokes, to scathing social critiques, to sneaker mentions. His music seems to be a statement of what he chooses it to be at that point in time, never taking himself too seriously or asking you to do so either. 

Wale recently released Festivus, his newest Seinfeld-referencing, holiday mixtape as a free download on his SoundCloud. This mixtape may be a taster of his new album, to be released on March 31, titled The Album About Nothing. For his fourth studio album, Wale has officially collaborated with Jerry Seinfeld, after meeting in 2008 following the release of The Mixtape About Nothing. They even appeared together on the most recent cover of Complex, in which they discuss many topics, ranging from strip clubs to sneakers. Whether or not the topics of their interview hint at what their collaboration may bring, it’s sure to be fun. In fact, Seinfeld and Wale have seemingly been planning this collaboration for a few years now based on Seinfeld’s short appearance during the outro on Wale’s last album, The Gifted. 

Seinfeld comes into the studio, ready to record The Album About Nothing:

“Album about nothing, when are we doing that?" Seinfeld asks. "I thought we were doing that."
"I just wanted to see if I can get you here,” Wale responds.
"I’m here. I came here to do it."
"I don’t really have much for you right now. I don't know what to do."
"Well, when are you gonna have it? When am I doing it? I’m ready to do it right now. I wanna do it."
"I’m not too sure, Jerry."

The wait is nearly over, and Wale’s Simply Nothing tour is sure to be a fun, nostalgic, Seinfeld-inspired experience when it stops by the Roseland on Thursday, January 22. Until then, watch The Album About Nothing trailer below:

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