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Listen: Wale

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Hey, do you love Seinfeld? Yeah? So does D.C. rapper Wale. Enough that he made an entire mixtape based around it. He even got Ms. Street Cred herself, Julia Louis-Dreyfus to guest on it. Oh, and that upstart Lil’ Wayne too. It’s adorably titled The Mixtape About Nothing, and some of us here at Consequence of Sound (ahem) put it in our top ten albums of 2008.

Don’t think he’s just a master of a cliché, though (though he asks for it calling the Weezy track “The Cliché Lil Wayne Feature”). From “The Opening Title Sequence”, you get the idea: Wale chuckles and introduces the project over a sample of the “Seinfeld” opening credits. What follows is a two and a half minute string of “What’s the deal with” ranging from a critique of the New Jersey Nets (“What’s the deal with the Nets though/ like being in the East ain’t enough help for ‘em”) to a few sick words about ringtone rappers.

“The Kramer” opens with an audience recording of Michael Richards’ infamous racist ranting. Instead of an aggressive retort, Wale recorded an astounding look at the N-word and its repercussions.

Whether it’s a sample of George Costanza talking about his “Artistic Integrity” (which Wale follows with a jam about his own integrity) or an insane club track like “The Bmore Club Slam”, there’s something for everyone.

But it’s not all NBA jokes and sitcom references. Wale’s been releasing singles and mixtapes since 2006. His biggest tape came in 2007, “100 Miles & Running”, which featured Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen. Later that year, he performed at the MTV Video Music Awards.

And yet, no real album.

Not so fast, my friends. German hip-hop mag JUICE recently announced his debut will be released by Interscope, and features production by Ronson, Kanye West, Just Blaze and Justice (cue hipster squeals), among others. Rumor also has it that the first single will feature Ye, Jay-Z, Nas and Outkast’s Andre 3000.

Cool Kids aren’t the only youngsters putting out eccentric hip-hop these days, and the group Old Money know how to use a big name well. Their Wale bootlegs “You Know Me From The You Know” are excellent and available for free download on their MySpace. “Ice Cream Girls” features a silky smooth female vocal hook under a hand-clap and big bass beat.

In a year that already promises big things, Wale might slot in at the top. So, take a listen now and start telling your friends you knew about this before they did.

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