Tag Archives: Wale

Wale – 09 Folarin

Just earlier I was thinking, if only I knew somebody that was as versed on Seinfeld as I am on Wale, then I could start The Podcast About Nothing, a show solely dedicated to Wale & Seinfeld. Then I come back to this track, ’09 Folarin’ is for every reason why Wale is top tier and not recognised as such at the same time. Not everyone likes Caviar, but we’re all well aware that it’s a high-end delicacy. Those that know, know of his skill-set, the respect amongst his peers, more importantly his discography, but his name tends to fall short in that conversation/list. Drake has offered clarity and a pulse of current trends and sounds, Cole has that same clarity, yet found a way to capitalise off the opposite spectrum (more so because of their entries into the game), then there’s Kendrick, who let’s not forget had to cater to current sounds with Damn for his position to be solidified. Then you have Big Sean, who has a weighty list of hits, that very clarity I hold high regard to, but seems to occupy the middle of the list with Wale, falling short to the likes of Meek and 21 Savage, more so off popularity. Now Wale does not have the same clarity, and maybe that’s an excuse I’ve found as to why people might overlook the DC rapper, but if you look at his most popular verses (for e.g, No Hands Remix), they’re the more clear, in comparison to say, The White Shoes. Maybe I’m just trying to blame the mix, or maybe the majority audiences are truly fickle and don’t gravitate towards good music as equally as we’d like. Then comes the argument of press and all the avenues that promote everything the same because they’re not true curators, but rather taking advantage of the clicks and streams, thus unfairly diluting culture.

He currently has a track circulating, with the Meg The Stallion featured Poledancer, doing well in clubs and online, so one thing you can’t accuse him of being is, inconsistent.

Bringing us to ’09 Folarin’, two minutes of Wale straight spazzing oh so effortlessly. In nostalgic style, over the jazzy production, complete with horns and bells, the sample-based beat screams Wale, and maybe that’s another reason for the lack of impact, this same lyrical exercise and cool flow might hit harder over some 808s and futuristic synths, but fuck all that, if you appreciate music, you can appreciate this. Touching on his ability, status and more, filled with basketball and wrestling references, it’s classic Wale. That, “Chip on my shoulder”, bar and it’s delivery was exquisite. I start to realise, it really is less about his vocal clarity, or sound, but just (like mentioned before) the bias and unfair lack of support from basically every supposedly credible source. Not to mention, how the labels allocate support based off how big the buzz is. As an artist, he’s been creating, and don’t get me started on how slept on Shine is. Much like when Schoolboy Q stated his disappointment in the distance between the critical acclaim and sales of his Blankface album, or DJ Khaled’s recent distaste (in the back of a custom Maybach) at the idea of having a Number 2 album, artists are human, and the efforts of their expression would be in vain if not shown proper appreciation. While I see the similarities with Wale and Joe Budden (when he was rapping), in terms over underrated and being overlooked, today’s climate is also best suited, as we see with him dropping this lil’ gem on Soundcloud, and really he just has to create as he feels, and let his core fanbase enjoy. Now if he makes a shit project, that people cannot vibe to or live with, then that’s different (and highly unlikely), but for now, as one of the few that can actually rap, he’ll for sure solidify his position amongst the top naturally.


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Wale – It’s Complicated EP

Wale has been victim to one of the biggest injustices in music last year, with the lack of support for what was one of the best albums released. Shine was almost completely overlooked, and though it did well, what appears to be a lack of support from the label meant there was some sort of disconnect and it did not receive the acknowledgement it deserved. Maybe that statement is a lil’ bit exaggerated, however, it was definitely one of the better projects released, and albeit tracks like Fashion Week (ft. G-Eazy) may have been ahead of their time, even the star-studded single featuring Major Lazer, WizKid & Dua Lipa, did not rule the summer as it should have. Since, after a short hiatus, the DC wordsmith has parted ways with Atlantic records, and a blessing in disguise as he shortly released this It’s Complicated EP

In an era where most projects tend to be over 15 tracks, Folarin proves his worth as an artist with substance, staying true to the EP format, with 4 tracks, and though the average listener may question that, it’s testament to the EP’s playback value. Starting with the title track, a classic Wale creation, fusing his signature spoken word, emphasising his poetic nature, as he opens up with a very realistic and current love story. “It’s complicated to find a lady in my generation…that’s not preoccupied with social clout, we almost fazing out from the high we get from love and conversation, to go on IG galavanting for likes and shit, Oh it’s complicated..”, he sets the tone from the get go, and as much as Wale may be praised for his dedications to women (such as Diary and Ice and Rain), the poetry of his lyricism is often overlooked, “Foundation on all my pillows, still your tender face is flawless when the sky kiss you..”, very few can paint these pictures and execute it with such coolness and machismo. The honesty in his music, much like his craft, is underrated, similar to how he is able to give you both sides, to where it’s not only relevant but relatable for so many in today’s times.

Already through one song, we’re given different dimensions, but it does not stop there, with the conceptual Black Bonnie, another ode to the yearning of a ride or die, the need of loyalty and compromise. Through my own understanding, the black woman has been one of the most oppressed, and what should not be ignored is Wale’s constant support of our queens (throughout his career), and this song effortlessly strengthens such notion, through the Bonnie & Clyde metaphor, he places her Godly intuition rightfully high, it’s a beautiful sentiment and something that he deserves more recognition for. Along with the addition of Jacquees’ (underrated) vocals, it truly amplifies the feeling and helps transcend the idea that is Black Bonnie. Now whether this EP is a translation of real life regarding someone in particular, or something he quests for, like his music..he is in search of substance, with the stronger essences of maturity and growth evident thus far. Some of the best artists are those who are transparent within their music, from the likes of Kanye West to Future, and Wale sits in the middle, as with (my initial favourite) Effortless, while the song itself is catchy and cool (with it’s Mary Jane Girls – All Night Long sample), it’s fairly truthful to where he’s at in life, as he quietly rebuilds, he touches on that, “I’ve been here..but I’ve been low key, can’t nobody say they’ve seen me around..”, distant from social media of late, it’s allowed him to live a bit more it seems, and he’s able to blend that into his music, even it’s laid-back feel really accentuates the content, and you just have to pay attention to garner glimpses of vulnerability as he drops his guard with this one, “I know I’m petty and immature..and I know, I’ve been hurt before..shouldn’t be the source of my cold heart, maybe shawty could be the first..to show me how to love on a level where effort isn’t work”. The way Effortless is catchy in sound, the final track of the EP has one of the catchier flows. A more retrospective offering, Let It Go really helps put into perspective not just himself but the journey of the project, from establishing, trying, maintaing to ending, characteristics and reactions of how he as a human with his strengths & flaws, handles such situations and what they come with. What at first was a dope four track EP, it’s really more of a creative insight and further justifies my previous point of transparency, “I’m heavily flawed, God designed me a little different, always at odds with my mind and heart”. Also, prior to that bar he states, “I’m ’bout to get signed the fourth time in a row”, which is interesting, as up and until him signing with Atlantic via MMG, that was considered his third, so possibly he is gearing up to take his EMB imprint to a new home or acquire distribution (said to be Empire records), which means more music for sure. Wether that may be the case or not, it’s evident with this EP that while love may be complicated, he is in full control and on course to gain the adoration that his artistry deserves.


Click artwork to listen on Apple music


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XX17 Spotify Playlist

With us closer to the end of the year, I’ve curated another playlist, this time a selection of some of the best and underrated Hip-Hop, Grime, Alternative and R&B tracks of the year, thus far. The playlist hosts American, British and French tracks, that varies in tempo and style, featuring the likes of Giggs, PartyNextDoor, Post Malone, Wale, Sampha, Toro Y Moi & many more..

[Click the image]




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Phaze What – Situation

For those in the know, I work behind the scenes with a variety of acts, and in my A&R mode, have lined up artists with production, most recently WSTRN’s Louie Rei.

Having linked up with one of the front runners of the legendary Piff Gang, Phaze What, through conversation we discussed the reality of artists on the come up, the smoke and mirrors and false perceptions fed to fans, before playing him some production I felt he would suit. He liked one in particular, and I left him with it, only for basically a day later finding this in my inbox.

He’s always been authentic as a person, and that was portrayed through the music, however, on some what of a hiatus, with a couple gems dropped here and there, the European Champion of the rap game really pulled inspiration out of the realities, for this introspective and motivational cut. Phaze flows cool over the soulful production, courtesy of Nottingham up and comer, Ken Samson. Of late, we rarely get songs from such an angle, “still in the box-room..breaking down zeds, still in the bits, came back..but I left, that ain’t right, life hit me with the right..and the left”, he raps, speaking on the come up and his dip in and out of the game, further explaining, “snakes in the grass so I mind where I step, scarred from seeing my grandma die in her bed..”, I had to reload it, as a fan, this was rare, it’s an evolution for the artist, who does not always open to such an extent, following with, “battling my demons…fighting this stress, I’m a looney (luniz)..and I got 5 on that peng, Spark it! Can’t take me for no target, fuck the constable..and sergeant, see..I was going the hardest, then I disappeared like Wembley market”, it’s these local lines that had Brits hold him to such high regard, with the famous market in Wembley closing, leaving many disappointed, much like his fans as he went off the radar during his peak. As to why? He still confident as ever continues, “Real life got on top, but when it’s back to back, man know who’s top of top, sweet 16 make you stop and drop, I’m just waiting to flex like Big Poppa Pop”. It wouldn’t be Phaze without a wrestling reference, he’s been leading that Rap/Wrestling line with the likes of American counterparts Smoke DZA and Wale

I was heavily impressed, as are fans (who have his The Sweet Chin Movie still in rotation), with a good response to this insightful and personal offering. Stay locked with the Undertaker of rap, as he looks to drop more dope for your ears.

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Wale – Fine Girl ft. Davido & Olamide

Folarin drops the visuals for one of the standouts (out of the many) off his recent album, Shine.

Having dropped videos for Running Back and Fashion Week, this is the next visual we have received after the J Balvin featured, Colombia Heights (Te Llamo), and whilst the video for the latter was more artistic in it’s approach and visual-feel, the video for Fine Girl like the song pays homage to the beautiful African muses it was inspired by.

Whilst many might credit Kendrick of late for putting the spotlight on the black woman, Wale has been praising the beauty of the nubian queens for some time now, even back to his (now) classic, Diary. In fact, most of his visuals, he has been positive with such notion. So it is no surprise, but really it just so happens that he has been able to create a song which embodies African rhythm, and can put together a video to glorify further. I’m not too impressed with the video but who cares when you have such an eclectic level of beauty on display, it does dispel those negative ideologies of Africa and their queens, that have plagued entertainment from well before our time. The song is still just as much of a banger as when it first grew on me throughout the early stages of listening to the album. I think we all are awaiting for something special for My Love (with a lyric video recently released), though it is disappointing, that is has not quite garnered the phenomenal numbers that it deserves.

There seems to be a recurring pattern for black artists and such sounds, as we’ve seen with Omarion, I for now am looking at it as more of a internal label relations issue than outright racism, though that would not be surprising, but again, more reason for me to dedicate my time in raising the awareness for quality music, and Wale is most definitely deserving of such praise.

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The Article About Nothing: Wale, the underrated

After news that his newly released album, Shine, which has not been so prominent within the realms of the internet, was projected to sell under 30,000 copies in it’s first week, in comparison to Kendrick’s 500,000, the term ‘flop’ began to surface.

Most recently, Joe Budden highlighted the lack of support Wale received (being a major recording artist), citing the disconnect of the radio hit as a factor, and with the release of this effort unlike that of his 2011, Ambition (arguably his biggest album). It featured the street anthem of the same name, a personal favourite, That Way, and the massive (Miguel featured) single Lotus Flower Bomb. His 2013 release Gifted had a similar aesthetic, boasting the hits LoveHate Thing, Bad (and the Remix ft. Rihanna). And then once again, his 2015 Seinfeld concept, The Album About Nothing, the third instalment to his Seinfeld-themed mixtapes, The Mixtape About Nothing (2008) and More About Nothing (2010), The Album About Nothing featured two giant singles, Matrimony featuring Usher, and (the Jeremih assisted) Body. The point being that Joe Budden might be onto something, as there has been a formula and roll out, for his albums, lead with a distinct radio hit. Shine for some reason goes against that, rather than the obvious single choices, they started with PYT, a song which I was listening to the other day, and wondering if it would have been even bigger if say Chris Brown was on the hook? and it felt like an assertive decision from Folarin to push forth with DJ Sam Sneak. It did good, well over 100million plays overall on all platforms, yet still feels like it had more potential. Even the second single, now relying on the feature somewhat, linking with Lil’ Wayne for Runnin’ Back. Definitely an underrated single, it just shows that for some reason, the hype or demand is not there the same way, the moment is coming and going without impacting the masses. I still can go back to his 2009 debut, Attention Deficit, and listen to tracks like Shades, Chillin’, Contemplate, Diary, Beautiful Bliss, or Prescription and be reminded of that time.

The album release was put forward, and the press runs ensue, which was great for me, I wanted to hear the album, but My PYT peaked about 6 to 7 months ago, and so unlike Kendrick’s release with the lyrical warning (which did get air time for the alleged Big Sean diss), but then he gave us Humble, and everyone got behind it, 100 million+ views in a month, then an impressive Coachella set, before the video for DNA, which has only pushed the run further. Yes I know, K Dot is technically a bigger artist than Wale, but here’s the thing, whilst physical sales may be low, Shine has done well on streaming services. Kendrick’s streams are a lot higher, but I tribute a lot of that to not only the sound, but the execution of the roll out.

Bringing me back to My PYT, and the time in which the album was released. The fact that Rozay’s album came before, though it helped the brand, I don’t think it helped Shine.

Wale has been overlooked throughout, from the fact that he had been uplifting the people musically from the get go, even Nike Boots was more for soul than the sole.

A modern-day pioneer for the kick game, you were not checking for foamposites ’til him, even the shoes that followed, he was a big influence. All this is great, but is his name bigger than his artistry?! Has his personality transcended the music, to where, people feel they can speak on him as if he is not one of the most talented poets of his generation?! Is MMG no longer the force it was?! Or are people just not ready for Go-Go music?!

I once thought that it was because his vocals were not as clear as they used to be, but feels more like most media are too busy sucking up to those at the top, to actually pay attention.

Shine will definitely garner more listens over time, just not at the same rapid rate as the more popular names. I was disappointed to see the image of someone not of the culture, accusing Wale of capitalising on the current caribbean trend, for his WizKid, Dua Lipa and Major Lazer collab. Sounds more like Wale once again, pushing the culture forward.


Wale, who recently became a father, he’s obviously sharing his time, and so maybe the process of it all suffered a bit, but regardless..he’s blessed, and that’s present in the music. As we have seen with Drake’s Views, and Kendrick Lamar’s TPAB, great projects, but still received criticism, leading to More Life, and DAMN. Similarly I hope Wale follows suit with his next project.

I believe in the album, it’s a quality project (might be up there as one of his best), and it will grow on you, so I realise, in reality, Wale’s discography is ahead of it’s time. As a fan, I do believe that him as a person has a part to play with things. He’s a real one. Generally, in working environments, university and so forth, some of us at times struggle with the lack of sincerity, the flakiness, leeching and so forth, for someone who wears their heart on their sleeve, not only do they tend to be introvert or anti-social, but it intimidates and only encourages the fakes to segregate further. You know the saying, “people fear what they do not understand”. 

Remaining positive either way, as the music is undeniable. I am definitely looking forward to more new visuals. I’m unaware of the budget etc, My Love obviously, deserves something special, but to be honest, each song could benefit with a video. Fine Girl has so much potential too, it just shows you the spectrum that the album is.

Big up Wale on a solid body of work, I’m definitely enjoying listening to it.

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FDM, better known in the UK as Fun*dmental 03 were pretty much our version of B2K, consisting of Varren, Kyle and Jermaine, the group rose to prominence quite quickly, however recently not much had been heard, many felt that they were no longer performing, that is not quite the case, they are indeed patiently developing their brand after being signed to a major label in the states ‘Geffen Records’ (home to Mary J Blige and Wale to name a few) in conjunction with Ne-Yo’s label ‘Compound’.

A favourite of mine, Playground:

check this video out, they go to the Geffen exec to display their ability, amazing:

Seeing all this is great for me, I was just a kid listening to their tracks, watching their videos on TV, I was a fan without a doubt, their ability was so evident, they have personality, talent and the desire to do this.

Well done Geffen records for recognizing the ability and giving them the chance, and Good Luck to the boys, Compound (Ne-Yo’s label) and Da Works, their talent and hard work should ensure a bright future.

Click image to visit their official website

Click image to visit their official website

I did not even know that there was a video for this, another favourite, produced by Music Kidz (Shout out to Shabz & K1)

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Jay-Z – A Star Is Born ft. J. Cole

Taken from Jay-Z’s recent success Blueprint 3, this track stands out for many reasons.

A Star Is Born, produced by Kanye West & NO I.D, is a part dedication to all the successful emcees to have come through, whilst being a statement of Jay’s longevity as an artist, as many of those mentioned have not reached the same amount of consistent success as the Brooklyn legend, however this track is also the official ROC nation introduction of J. Cole

J. Cole is an extremely talented emcee, although names such as Kid Cudi, Drake and Asher Roth are often mentioned as saviours of Hip-Hop, they are talented but J. Cole is pretty much the definition of Hip-Hop, best described as Jay-Z and Nas in one, J. Cole’s ‘the warm-up’ mixtape helped create a stronger foundation for him as an artist, his only negative is that he might be too good for mainstream, but with Jay-Z taking him under his wing he is in the best position, he reminds me of Jay-Z with his clever wordplay and distinctive flow. In a ‘passing the torch’ manner, Jay-Z introduces J. Cole on this track and he does not disappoint, he takes this oppurtunity in both hands, this is a similar position to when Kanye West featured on Blueprint 2, however Kanye’s verse was quite dissapointing and lacked the charisma and metaphors that we hear from him now, so it is quite amazing if you think how much J. Cole will improve, already good enough to go against some of the best, he is one of the sparks in the bright future of Hip-Hop.

Click image to visit his myspace and hear more

Click image to visit his myspace and hear more

The making of the cover for Blueprint 3:

I wonder if Jay has that somewhere in his house?!

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Wiz Khalifa – Get Some

Wiz Khalifa has been extremely consistent with his music, he has not received the same exposure as the likes of Wale and Drake, however, with their success creating intrest in the younger artists, Khalifa’s consistency has kept him prominent and in line to get the respect and acknowledgement that he deserves.

Get Some is a good example of Wiz Khalifa, the beat is diverse, the chorus is more of a dance sound with a pitch-altered sample, whereas the main body of the track is a modern electro meets hip-hop base on which he does not hesitate to get lyrical, but this track is more about feeling than talent so he does hold back.

Wiz Khalifa is who the likes of Bow Wow and Soulja Boy aim to be, somebody who is ‘cool’, accepted by a variety of audiences, You can see the impact he has had on Soulja Boy, I say that because Wiz Khalifa has been around for a while, just underground and I guess with Soulja Boy being a mainstream artist, he is making it acceptable for someone like Wiz to breakthrough.

This track is not the best I have heard, but it is different, something that relates to the artist Wiz Khalifa himself.

A song more representing Khalifa’s presence as an emcee is Dreamer:

Click image to visit his myspace to hear more..

Click image to visit his myspace to hear more..

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Wale – Ice and Rain (Produced by Cool & Dre)

DC’s Wale is undoubtley one for the future, with a lyrical style reminiscent of an illmatic Nas, he found his breakthrough with the success of his hit Nike Boots, currently charting with his new single Chillin ft. Lady Gaga. Wale (pronounced Wa-lay) recently inked a deal with Jay-Z’s ROC Nation label with his debut album ‘Attention Deficit’ to be released soon.

This Cool & Dre produced track is reminiscent to his critically acclaimed Family Affair, consisting of the similarly deep and meaninful story-telling ability that Wale possesses, Ice and Rain is rumoured to be a left-over track from his album’s final cut, hopefully this is not the case as it really is a special track, it has an epic emotion in intwined with the beat, creating a canvas for Wale to paint his lyrical picture, this song could do a lot for Wale, I feel that the topic might not be appreciated by every listener and that becomes a problem, mainstream audiences today prefer to invest in feel-good dance songs, Black Eyed Peas being a testament to that, However with ROC Nation, as Jay-Z attempts to push Hip-Hop back into the mainstream fold, in time could prove beneficial for an artist of Wale’s stature.

Look out for more Wale as he along with Kid Cudi, Drake and Asher Roth, lead the new school Hip-Hop revolution.

Wale - Rhyme spitter, Trend Setter and considered Leader of the New School

Wale – Rhyme spitter, Trend Setter and considered Leader of the New School

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