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Friday, June 19, 2009

Wale - Back to the Feature review

Wale, one of the Freshmen XXL claimed was the future (before ex-Tim Horton doughnut cashier Drake was the next big thing), finally dropped his 5th official mixtape. The tape in 22 songs and loaded w/ guest appearances (ie Back to the Feature-duh). Wale's last two mixtapes, since signing w/ Mark Ronson (producer/pimp/dealer to Amy Winehouse) have become critically acclaimed and this one follows suit. Production-wise, 9th Wonder does most of the beats, which leaves the tape w/ a very 90's feel to it, with the samples & boom-pap drums. Also, the couple Mark Ronson beats are his best in a while ( as in not post Amy Winehouse sounding). The flaw of the tape may be it has too many guests. Sure Bun B, Black Thought, Lady Gaga, Beanie Sigel, Freeway, etc. sound good on paper, but it looses what made the last two tapes so good. They were mostly Wale just rapping. Here te amount of guests do not take the focus off Wale completely, but start to get boring after a while, if you're listening to the tape to hear Wale. Another flaw of the tape is when Wale tries to go catchy, rather than lyrical (a la Chillin'). Nightlife is a prime example of a song that probably was just made to give the mixtape a mainstreamish appeal, while leaving the real pop sensability for the album cuts. Overstuffing guests & poppish fails aside, the production is the best of all of his mixtapes & lyrically Wale is on par as "100 Miles & Running" or "The Mixtape About Nothing".

8/10: Listen to: Rhyme N Reason, Say it Again, Um Ricka & Wordplay
Avoid: Chillin' (Catch vs 9th) & Nightlife