RoyalTy Rating: 8 Crowns
Rap’s relationship connoisseur, Wale, delivers a well-balanced opus with his Folarin mixtape. The project embodies a variety of productions that give different feels, ranging from soulful remedies to bass-booming club music. Unlike the rest of his posse, Wale has never been one to overload his music with bass, and asserts a formula similar to the construction of his past project: More About Nothing.
Essentially, Wale stays true to the identity he wishes to assert in rap. He hasn’t deviated from discussing encounters with women, the trials of relationships, and how relentless ambition brings success. He explains on “Change Up” that his lyrics haven’t changed, but the scope of his reach has. Wale also explains on “Chun Li” that other rappers haven’t paralleled his status because “ either n****s aren’t fly or they can’t rap.”
As usual, wordplay Wale manages to sneak in a couple of bass-booming industry hits, mostly cosigned by Atlanta natives. Travis Porter appears on “One Eyed Kitten” to provide their signature twerk feel; 2 Chainz delivers an energetically boastful flow on “GetMeDoe,” a call and response concert hyping anthem; and Trinidad Jame$ offers an “All Gold Everything” imitated verse that explains the meaning of “Flat Out.”
“Cool Off” serves as Wale’s platform to impart another relationship instructional detailing the heat of confrontation, while he relays toxic qualities to women in the song “Bad.”
Randomly placed soulful songs offer a change of pace. Brass instruments develop “Streetrunner’s” sound, and a jazzy saxophone structures the melody of “The Right One.”
Additionally, innovative concepts sneak into this body of work. Wale conveys a complete, extended metaphor on “Georgetown Press” comparing the defensive pressure of Georgetown University’s basketball team to the struggle of rising out of the trap. “School Daze” serves as another play on words as Wale relates nostalgic high school situations before chanting an ode to Ambition’s “Legendary.”
“Back to Ballin” is the most questionable song on the project. An appearance from French Montana serves more as a liability than an asset, as his redundant subject matter and choppy style sours the track. Adding that to Wale’s dumb downed delivery creates a bad combination, although it’s mildly catchy.
“Forward,” a cosigning intro paying homage to Wale’s successes, and addressing how much of Wale’s subject matter is overlooked, sets the stage for Wale to display why it’s important to stay true to your values and not allow the industry to compromise style and individuality for hits. Although the project is solid, there’s something missing. The ”it” factor wasn’t present, even though its loaded with quality songs. Wale caters to fans who appreciate his music for different reasons. He offsets passionate lyrics that ladies love, with club hits that men respect. His self-proclaimed “scholarship flow” is in full effect as the double M genius continues striving to produce deeper subject matter.