#MixtapeMonday – Wale x A-Trak ‘Festivus’ (Review)

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Hey Lovelites,

I’m starting a lot of new initiatives for the blog this year and #MixtapeMonday is one of them. I’ll be reviewing the latest mixtapes that are out on Mondays! Who better to start this off with than Wale! Wale released his A-Trak assisted mixtape ‘Festivus’ on Christmas Eve last year and it started the resurgence of Wale’s name in the rap game. Wale started the year off on a solid note by dropping this mixtape and he is currently on his #SimplyNothing tour. So this new music couldn’t have come at a better time.

Festivus is a great marriage of sounds, melodies, beats, bars, metaphors and flows that have made Wale one of the well-celebrated rappers of this generation. I think this mixtape shows the evolution of Wale’s music throughout his career. It doesn’t matter when you became a fan of Wale, whether it was Attention Deficit, Eleven One Eleven Theory, or Folarin, this mixtape will remind you why you are a Wale fan. On this mixtape, Wale sounds like he is in a comfortable and confidence space within his music and he sounds very refreshed and excited with his new music. He begins strong and claims his stakes in the game in “Intro: Stroke of Genius”. I think that this Intro really set the bar high for this mixtape and the songs that followed kept the momentum going. He took it to the trap with “Loyalty Dew Baby” Ft Fat Trel, this song is reminiscent of a Chief Keef/Young Chop produced song . “Girls on Drugs” is another song that sounded familiar to me, it sounds like it stemmed from the same branch as “90210” off of Attention Deficit. Wale then showed more of an eclectic sound in “Friendship Heights” Ft. Chance The Rapper. On the spectrum of sound and direction on this mixtape: Wale gave us some songs that are consistent and expected from him but he also tried new flows, styles, and approaches which all came together in this project.

In a recent interview he did with Hot New Hip Hop, Wale expressed his discomfort in withholding music from his fans, and how Jay-Z and Rick Ross were against him releasing free music. But he did anyway and I’m glad he did. This mixtape features appearances from Chance The Rapper, Ab-Soul, Pusha T, MMG label partner Fat Trel, and more, Wale pulled out all the stops for this mixtape but according to his interview with HNHH,’The Album About Nothing’ will not be like that.“Festivus ain’t nothing compared to it,” he explains. “It’s all me right now. I ain’t have no features on it, except Jeremih and J. Cole did a hook.” I look forward to the album and I hope he is able to execute his idea properly. I say that because this mixtape was very feature heavy so to say his album is sans features is an interesting idea. I know a lot of people have been a little disconnected and frustrated with Wale and his music, especially after he dropped his album “The Gifted”, so I hope that in regards to the music he tries to keep some kind of consistency so that his fans are not lost and detached. As a true fan of Wale myself, I was very hesitant to listen to this project because I did’t know what exactly to expect but I’m glad I gave it a chance. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of this body of work, I hope this is true of ‘The Album of Nothing‘ as well.

Wale Tour

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Wale is currently on his #SimplyNothing Tour with Bizzy Crook, Audio Push and I was fortunate enough to see him in Minneapolis at The Varsity Theater on (1/19/15). It was great to see him live again in concert, I saw him last when his album Ambition dropped and he performed at EPIC in downtown Minneapolis (That was a great show). Wale is a great live performer; his energy is always through the roof, he has great interaction with the crowd, and it is just always a great show. During his set, Wale performed hits like: Ambition, 90210, Lotus Flower Bomb, and No Hands off his previous projects. It was truly a nostalgic moment for me because those songs and the projects they come from really resonate with me. Then he performed more recent songs like: Clappers, Friendship Heights, Loyalty Dew Baby, Girls on Drugs, Body, and much more. I love seeing Wale live any chance that I get because it reminds of me of what sets him apart from his counterparts in this rap game. Until his next show, I have my fingers crossed for his new album ‘The Album about Nothing‘, which drops March 31st.

If you haven’t already, listen to Wale’s Mixtape ‘Festivus‘ below. Let me know what you think of Wale, his albums and  mixtapes; Comment below or tweet me TLO (@thelitestyle) and let me know what your favorite songs are and your thoughts.

Favorite Tracks: Blood Money Ft. A$AP Ferg, Loyalty Dew Baby Ft. Fat Trel, Girls on Drugs, Friendship Heights Ft. Chance The Rapper, and The Deep End Ft. Pusha T.

Image (Mixtape Cover): Wale’s Instagram

-xoTLO