Wale's "The Album About Nothing" released a few days ago, but this isn't his first time repping Jerry Seinfeld.
A few days ago Wale put out a brand new album called The Album About Nothing. If you're not a fan of "Seinfeld," it may sound like Mr. Folarin is trying too hard to make some sort of weird artistic statement. But if you're a fan of the 90s comedy show, or a longtime fan of Wale's music, you know that this isn't the first record to be centered around the sitcom.
In 2008, a much lesser known Wale put out The Mixtape About Nothing. Presented by the clothing brand 10 Deep and mixed by Fools Gold Records co-founder Nick Catchdubs, the mixtape featured alternative-styled hip hop that was refreshing in its flavor and delivery, but perhaps more so with its concept. The entire mixtape was completely stuffed with samples directly from the show, of which Wale is apparently a huge fan.
After a strong four song introduction, the first Seinfeld sample introduces "The Perfect Plan." Not only does George Costanza's quote kick off a great hip hop track, but it actually sets the tone for the track. Wale rhymes about the industry's shadiness and how hard it is to make a dime off album sales, and alludes to a "plan" he has where hip hop fans care about the message instead of just hot beats. Judging by who's at the top of the game, his plan may be working.
Michael Richards, who played Kramer on Seinfeld, kicks off the next track, aptly titled "The Kramer." However, the song has nothing to do with Richards' character and everything to do with a racist rant that he had an comedy club in West Hollywood. The track sets the very serious tone for some of Wale's realest bars to date.
"And niggas say nigga to a nigga
A nigga write nigga in a lyric, expect the white boy to omit it
The white boy spit it like he spit it
Recite it to his friends who, by the way, ain't niggas
And say nigga, nigga, nigga, my favorite rapper did it
And non-nigga friends got it with him
Incorporate this lyric to their everyday living
Until a black friend kinda hear it, just a tidbit
He thinks Aw, forget it, its so insignificant and little
The white boy sees this as a clearance, now its
Nigga, nigga, nigga, every single day
And that little nigga nigga, thinks its okay
And he's the only nigga in this particular grade
And it begins to phase him more each day
The things they say went a little too far
He couldn't tell the difference between an a or er
So they just keep going, saying nigga in his face
There's nothing he can do, he let it get away
It came to the point he couldn't look 'em in the face
The mirror made him hurl, his reflection disgraceful
Yeah, and make sure everything you say
Can't be held against you in any kind of way
And any connotation is viewed many ways
Cuz under every nigga, there's a little bit of Kramer
Self-hatred...I hate you...and myself
On the contrary, "The Pitch," is a really hilarious sample, and it also does prelude the direction of the song. In "The Pitch," George Costanza tries to convince NBC executives that he has "artistic integrity." The joke is that George doesn't have integrity when it comes to anything. During the bridge, Seinfeld says, "What were you thinking? What was going on in your mind? 'Artistic Integrity'? Where did you come up with that? You're not artistic, and have no integrity! You know you really need some help...and a regular psychiatrist couldn't even help you."
Julia Louis-Dreyfus makes an original appearance, on "The Vacation From Ourselves," joking that her kids will think she's cool for being featured on the "mixtape, mutha fucka!" The track also features of the Season 9 episode called "The Butter Shave."
A couple of years later, in 2010, Wale released More About Nothing. It worked as one of Ambitions precursors, and was the last project Wale put out before signing to Maybach Music Group. The first sample goes back to "The Artistic Integrity" and lets the scene ride out just a bit longer. Wale does his thing to let you know what time it is which a solid spoken word flow that segues in to a full-on, beat-backed blitz.
The legendary "Soup Nazi" episode makes an appearance on the guitar-led "The Soup." Wale spits some braggadocio about his rising status within the music scene. "No soup for you wack niggas, I'mma get my chowder on," he ends an impressive run of bars. The track ends with a sample from the Seinfeld episode "The Invitations," which bleeds into the next track "The Breeze Cool."
Wiz Khalifa, who was also just starting to really come up at the time, was on the track too. The collaboration proved to be one of the waviest cuts on the album as both MCs do there thing. These four from Wale are really sweet:
"Sometimes you do get dough, sometimes you get the cheese
Sometimes you go stores and buy everything that you see
Sometimes you do get broke, sometimes you be on E
But for now just roll it up and just become one with the breeze"
As the album plays out, a mix of Jerry Seinfeld's stand-up comedy and bits of the show work to pepper the entire project with flavor. On "The Friends Strangers," his quote from the first season sets the stage for a really interesting, romantic verse to go down.
"Y'know I think that even if you've had a relationship with someone, or let's say, especially if you've had a relationship with someone and you try to become friends afterwards, it's very difficult. Isn't this? It's hard. Because, you know each other so well, you know all of each others tricks. It's like two magicians, trying to entertain each other. The one goes, 'Look, a rabbit.' The other goes, 'So?'"
Jerry Seinfeld's emotional interview with Larry King sets the tone for the next track, "The Number Won." "The Calzone," from the sitcom, falls in the middle of Wale's "The War." And quotes "The Virgin," "The Bottle Deposit," and "The Conversion" also provide comedic relief as the mixtape ends. (If you couldn't tell, there's a little pattern with the episode and song titles to pay further tribute.)
Finally, Wale released The Album About Nothing, just earlier this week. The album actually doesn't have too many samples from Seinfeld the show, but that's because Jerry Seinfeld himself was involved with the recording of the album. The album actually starts with a conversation between the MC and the comedian.
With the original clips, it comes off more polished, but slightly less ambitious. Nevertheless, Wale uses Seinfeld's goofy voice as the preludes to his material and sometimes comedic relief in between his raps. On "The White Shoes," Seinfeld opens the track with a couple sentences regarding his signature look, which is super-clean white shoes, a lot like what rappers often wear.
"The Pessimist" does have an excerpt from the show, however. "I don't want hope, hope is killing me. My dream is to become hopeless. When you're hopeless you don't care, and when you don't care, that indifference, it makes you attractive," George Costanza says right before the J. Cole-assisted cut really gets going.
Clips from "The Face Painter" and "The Deal" add some spice to Seinfeld's other quotes, and it helps to make The Album About Nothing into a unique, cohesive project. It could be the best album Wale has released, but we'll leave that up to you to discuss in the comments.