Each Thursday I’m going to be going back and listening to one of the 40ish albums I missed at the end of 2019 (as a result of my computer dying). This Thursday I finally got around to listening to the most recent album from DC artist Wale, titled ‘Wow… That’s Crazy’.
Wow… That’s Crazy was released on October 11 of 2019, and is Wale’s 6th studio album, with his most recent beforehand being the 2017 album ‘Shine’. The album contains 15 tracks and features from up and comers such as Megan Thee Stallion & Boogie, as well as features from frequent collaborators including Rick Ross, Jeremih & Meek Mill. The album was preceded by 5 singles; ‘Poledancer’ & ‘Black Bonnie’ in 2018, and ‘On Chill’, ‘BGM’ & ‘Loyalty and Love’ in 2019. The album debuted at number 7 and was Wale’s fourth top ten album.
Below I’m going to review the album in 2 parts, first will be an informal and unedited track by track review, which are basically just the notes I took as I listened through each song, and following that will be my thoughts on the album as a whole. I’ll include links to stream the project and some discussion questions at the end. Enjoy!
Track By Track Review
1. Sue Me (ft. Kelly Price) – Nice mellow beat, Wale rides it well. Some great rhyming. Hook isn’t too special. Verses have some good lyrics but the flows are quite simple for the most part. The Kelly Price backing vocals are nice but aren’t prominent enough to make much impact, seems more like a subtle sample. Ends really strongly, has a great build up with the real grand production. Okay song but nothing special
2. Love & Loyalty (ft. Mannywellz) – Real pleasant guitar in this, has this tropical beach vibe, real chaotic drums too. Starts a bit slow but Wale picks up the pace quickly with some super impressive rhymes. The reggae sounding hook from Mannywellz is a good fit but the hook overall is forgettable. Some more impressive rhymes and enjoyable flows in the second verse, but nothing too special. Song drags on too long. Decent song, has a good vibe to it
3. Cliche (ft. Ari Lennox & Boogie) – some beautiful singing from Ari at the start, nothing too memorable though. Flows and delivery are a bit average from Wale, sounds nice when he switches up to a more melodic flow. The Ari hook is pleasant but not too catchy. Boogie feature is solid, love his range of flows and has some impressive rhyme schemes throughout. Also enjoy his more melodic flow. Whole song was mid, a little boring even, lacked something
4. Expectations (ft. 6lack) – 6lack sounds okay but his delivery is a little boring, he could do better. Beat is really basic too. Wale brings a great energy to the track, some great flows and solid bars. He utilises his melodic delivery on this again and it sounds great. The 6lack hook is a little more enjoyable the second time, real vibe. Surprisingly I find the Wale singing more pleasant. More solid bars and flows on the second verse. The uncredited female backing vocals are really nice, especially harmonising with 6lack. Song is 30secs too long. I think I like this, on the fence
5. BGM – quite a funky beat on this, real disco vibes. Wale’s flow and delivery is a little jarring at times. Wale’s singing is nice. Hook isn’t too special, has a nice flow to it but isn’t very memorable. Final verse has a real good flow and some solid bars, best rapping on the track, gets repetitive towards the end though. Average track, quite forgettable overall
6. Love… (Her Fault) (ft. Bryson Tiller) – Bryson Tillers singing is nothing too special on this. Some more decent rhymes from Wale but the lyrics aren’t too special and the flows and delivery are basic. Hook is boring, some parts sound nice but nothing stands out. Second verse is just as simple and ordinary as the first. Beat is kinda nice at times with the pitched up vocal sample, but is average for the most part. Below average song
7. On Chill (ft. Jeremih) – The Jeremih Hook is decent, sounds better than the Bryson one on the last song. Still quite repetitive and not too memorable though. Basic flows from wale, but some solid bars and impressive rhymes. Beat is simple again, quite a mellow vibe though. Wale rides the beat real well but that’s because they’re both quite simple haha. Jeremih has a nice little refrain but it’s repetitive and average too, makes the song feel like it drags on for a minute too long. Mediocre track
8. Routine (ft. Meek Mill, Rick Ross & Clemm Rishad) – One of the first songs to have a great energy from the start, great Meek Mill Intro that builds hype. Beat is hype too, has this hard hitting bass and this real grand synth, overall has this cinematic feel. Wale has one of his best verses so far, real impressive flow throughout, enjoyable delivery and the usual solid bars and rhymes. Great feature from Meek Mill, rides the beat amazingly, has this awesome high energy delivery and just sounds great overall. Rick Ross sounds amazing on this cinematic beat too, flows fantastically, has some solid bars and matches the energy of Meek and Wale. One of the most catchy hooks so far, just meshes well with everything else and is quite catchy. Real good track
9. Love Me Nina / Semiautomatic – Takes too long to get going. Beat is simple but quite good, real atmospheric and chill. Wale brings his usual solid bars, some great delivery at times too though. The hook/bridge is pretty boring, is catchy but isn’t too special. Subtle little beat change, has this real laid back boom no feel in the second half. Wale’s flows and delivery are more basic and less exciting on the second half unfortunately. Some good bars but that’s about it. The outro is okay but also nothing too special. Average song
10. Break My Heart (My Fault) (ft. Lil Durk) – Lil Durk has one of the most compelling features so far, sounds amazing and his delivery is real solid, hook is quite catchy too. Starts the song on a strong note. More great lyrics and rhyme schemes from wale, fairly enjoyable delivery too. Definitely one of the best hooks so far. Second verse is okay, some good storytelling and solid bars. Good song
11. Debbie – Drags on at the start. Another fairly funky beat with a kind of disco vibe. The melodic singing from Wale at the start is real nice, the repetition is unnecessary though. The rapping in decent but there isn’t enough of it. This song felt like 90percent Hook, average song
12. 50 In Da Safe (ft. Pink Sweat$) – Wale starts off his verse pretty bad, delivery isn’t the best. Picks up a bit with some exciting rhymes and better flow, but still isn’t too great. Really enjoy the Pink Sweat$ Hook, his voice sounds amazing, has this great flow to it and is quite catchy. Second verse starts better, flows and bars are decent from the start. Easily one of my favourite hooks on this album. The Wale bridge is unnecessary, song drags on far too long. Okay song, great hook
13. Set You Free (ft. Kelly Price) – More pretty average flows and delivery from Wale mostly, solid rhymes though which can be expected by now. The Kelly Price Hook sounds nice, the beat during the hook is great, gives it this real grand feel. Hook is too long though. Song needs another verse, drags on too long at the end
14. Black Bonnie (ft. Jacquees) – Beat is quite basic but has this subtle little vocal sample that is pleasant. Wale isn’t too special in this, nothing new or exciting. Hook is pretty simple and boring, but is nice and short for once, doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Second verse is slightly better, enjoy Wale’s flow and he spits some solid bars. Hook isn’t too bad, good length. Well crafted song, but isn’t too enjoyable overall
15. Pole dancer (ft. Megan Thee Stallion) – One Of the most exciting beats so far, has good bass and this intriguing little synth. Wale changes up his delivery on this a bit too, has this strange melodic slur to it, sounds okay because it’s different but gets old quickly. Lyrics aren’t anything too special either. Hook is catchy but lame, not too enjoyable but may grow on me. The slow flow from Megan doesn’t sound the best, first half of her verse is a bit boring. Changes it up halfway through though and her faster flow sounds amazing. Song is pretty average most the way through but has something real intriguing about it, just has this vibe. On the fence
Overall I felt like this album was one of the most disappointing albums I’ve heard in the last few months, with a majority of the beats being quite average, and Wale’s performance being nowhere near as strong as he is capable of. Going into this album I was quite excited, with Wale releasing 2 singles last year that I absolutely loved, titled ‘09 Folarin’ & ‘Gemini (2 Sides)’. Seeing that neither of these songs were on the album gave me that initial disappointment, but then realising that nearly the entire album was less enjoyable than those 2 tracks was the cherry on top.
I’ve always seen Wale as being an under appreciated lyricist, with his lyrics often sounding poetic in the way they flow and rhyme, and Wale usually having a compelling enough flow and delivery to pull it off. Although I think this album was an ode to Wale’s impressive lyricism, I felt like a majority of the time Wale himself didn’t really do the best job at keeping the listener interested enough to appreciate the lyricism. The delivery was often simple and kinda boring, with Wale only changing things up on a couple of occasions to this more melodic delivery. And on top of that I thought his flows across the project were super basic and one dimensional, which is disappointing from someone who has proven many times in the past that he is capable of more. I even felt like certain features brought this album down, with uninteresting contributions from Kelly Price, Bryson Tiller, 6lack & Boogie; all of which are artists who are capable of delivering amazing features. And finally, I felt like the production was lacking too; similarly to the recent Russ album I felt like everything was well produced but nothing stood out, so although there weren’t any bad beats, there were none that really grabbed my attention either.
Fortunately this album did have some enjoyable moments, which overall made the album quite easy to get through. Despite the lack of interesting delivery, Wale was just as impressive as ever in terms of his rhyme schemes, and often had some great one liners scattered throughout the tracks. Also, Wale’s verse on ‘Routine’ was one of his most exciting on the album, and one of the only ones where he sounded hungry, going toe to toe with the stellar features on the track. And on that note, some of the features on this album were excellent; Meek Mill and Rick Ross sounding fantastic on ‘Routine’, a hard hitting throwback to the old MMG days; both Jeremih and Pink Sweat$ provided amazing hooks on ‘On Chill’ & ‘50 In Da Safe’ respectively; and although the start of the verse was whack I thought Megan Thee Stallion was a great fit for the song ‘Pole Dancer’.
So yeah, in summary I would say this album is not only disappointing personally, but quite boring overall. If you’re looking to get into Wale I’d recommend listening to his older stuff first, almost all of his older projects are more enjoyable than this one, including his most recent album ‘Shine’. And if you have the time, check out the 2 singles I listed earlier (Gemini & 09 Folarin) to see what Wale is capable of and why I was hyped for this release.
Or listen in full for free on YouTube here!
My favourite songs were Routine & Break My Heart (My Fault)
What were your favourite songs on the album?
How do you think this album compares to some of Wale’s older work?
Thanks For Reading!
– Shan –