Wale returns with a new album, Folarin 2

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Artist: Wale 

Production: Various 

Label: MMG/Warner Records Based out of our nation’s capi tal of Washington, D.C., Wale  is one of Hip Hop’s more sensi tive rappers (made evident by  the dozen roses he’s holding on  his album cover). According to  him, he deserves to be mentioned  amongst the best rappers of the  last decade and feels he doesn’t  get the proper respect he deserves.  Does he have a case? Well, he is  the only rapper ever to get Jerry  Seinfeld on his album, so that has  to count for something. 

Now he’s back for this new de cade with his new album “Folarin  II.” With features from J. Cole,  Chris Brown, Yella Beezy, Jamie  Foxx, and others, how well does  it fair in a year of already stacked  albums? 

Thoughts 

Wale has often been compared  to the perfect blend of rapper  and spoken word poet. He’s not  going to switch up his flow too  much, nor is he going to bombard  you with multi-coupled rhyme  schemes. However, the wordplay  is still his strong point. Take for  example a line on “Name Ring  Bell”: 

“They say I got an ego, I de serve an EGOT” 

On the surface it’s an unassum ing line, but since it’s Wale, it’s  obvious this is a response to how  he has complained in the past  about being snubbed for a Gram my. Here he’s saying he deserves  not only a Grammy, but Emmy,  Oscar, and Tony awards? Sensi tive as he is, one thing Wale is not  lacking is confidence. 

Although there are some  catchy lines here and there, the  first two tracks are rather under whelming. The beats are also so  indistinguishable they almost  sound like one long song. Luck ily, Wale finally delivers with the  third track, “Poke It Out,” which  is easily the best song on the al bum. It samples the classic Q-Tip  song, “Vivrant Thing”. 

It’s a twerk song about girls  with flat butts. Wale is encourag ing girls that aren’t blessed with  ample…say… assets…as other  girls to stick it out and poke it out  anyway. If this wasn’t enough to  solidify it as the crown jewel of  this album, J. Cole is also fea tured on the track, and delivers  the best verse of the entire album  (as he normally does with his fea tures).  

“Turn around I wanna see… Do it look like how it look on  IG? 

Bad from every angle she got  herself a trainer… 

Cole World and Folarin co starring 

We both flexing Bo Jacksons,  bogarting… 

My latest whip, my latest chick  was both foreign.” 

J. Cole then reaffirms the la dies listening that he wants to  see it whether you’re Meg Thee  Stallion or Coi Leray.

How in the  world this song hasn’t already  become the biggest sensation on  TikTok? I have no idea. 

Unfortunately, after a few more  

lackluster tracks, we finally find a  bright spot with “Fluctuate”. The  beat caters to Wale’s spoken word  background with more of a live  band sound than the synthesized  sound we’ve heard up to this  point. The song has a simple con 

cept centering around when those  in your circle’s feelings towards  you waver or fluctuate. The entire  song has an undeniable vibe, and  I would

love to see DJs pick up  this song for any of their more  laidback playlists. 

We go from the almost manda tory Rick Ross feature to what  seems like the biggest single  from the album, ”Angles”. Fea turing Chris Brown, it’s a no brainer how it became so popular  since Breezy doesn’t miss on fea tures. The song seems to tackle  communication problems in re lationships, or how both parties  are working an “angle” instead of  being honest with their feelings.  Of course, it’s also about women  who mastered camera angles  while posing for selfies, but that  just means the song works on  multiple levels. 

The very next track, “Dearly  Beloved,” is Wale delivering eas ily his best bars on the album.  While it credits Jamie Foxx as a  feature, it feels more like he was  sampled from one of his earlier  songs. There aren’t any drums on  the track; it’s just Wale telling an  ex on her wedding day that he’s  not over her. He’s also criticiz 

ing her by saying that she’s just  settling with her husband over  pressure from her family, but he  admits that it never would have  worked between them. It’s a very  personal song, and every guy has  that “one that got away” who they  will instantly visualize in their  head when listening to this song. 

After a few more so-so  tracks, Wale steps outside  the box with “Down South”.  Sampling Mike Jones’ “Still  Tippin’” with a hook that was  made famous by Master P, the  entire song is a love letter to  southern Hip Hop. Although  Wale gets an “A” for effort, he  still delivers the weakest verse  on the song. Luckily, he has ac tual Texas rappers Yella Beezy  and Maxo Kream to pick up his  slack. Both bring the energy  needed from this type of track  that Wale’s laid back style sim ply can’t deliver.  

Although I can see controver sy coming from the “Crip killed  Nipsey Hustle” line, but we’ll see  in due time. 

Verdict 

Wale is an acquired taste, but  he also has a long time hardcore  fan base. Many times on this al bum he steps outside of his com fort zone. But when he goes back  to basics is when he’s at his best.  It’s a very uneven album with  quite a few tracks feeling like  filler and most of the guest fea tures outshining him. However,  there are also some undeniable  bangers on here that may even be  strong enough to overshadow the  weaker tracks. 

Overall: 3.5/5 

Disclaimer: Select lyrics  from Wale’s album will be fea tured in the online version of  this article. 

Leroy Dee is a writer born in Atlanta, GA, raised in Vicksburg, MS, and now lives in Jackson, MS. Also a lover of music (mostly Hip Hop) and movies, I’ve been known to be a first round pick on trivia night. I prefer DC over Marvel, but will admit that currently the movies have a long way to go before they catch up.

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Wale returns with a new album, Folarin 2

By Leroy Dee
November 22, 2021