Wale (Maybach Music Group LLC / Warner Records).
Short & Brief: Folarin II feels like a milestone for Wale. A marker of the past 16 years. A celebration of his catalog. The album exudes its cover, the rapper finally getting his flower — even if he’s the giver.
Now, for the real spill:
Folarin II isn’t explosive. Instead, it unfurls into its mastery track by track, concept by concept. Which is greatly appreciated in this current state of bombastic music.
Wale has a lot to address from top to bottom, much to process, and even more to release.
Nevertheless, the 15-track album clocks in at 45 minutes, leaving listeners with just enough to digest without feeling overwhelmed.
The songs dole out the respect I believe Wale is still seeking. The album’s theme seems to be to showcase Wale’s dexterity solely. His innate ability to blend radio hits and deep cuts on a project without risking the album’s cohesion.
Poetic and pure. It’s the wit in the delivery — something only Wale can offer.
The entire album is a conversation focused on acknowledgment — no surprise here — but it feels different from Wale’s Twitter outbursts this time.
It submits a more collected Wale, that’s ready to revisit the conversation of his legacy.
On Folarin II — which marks the 7th studio album and sequel to the 2012 Folarin Mixtape — Wale is working his stride and not conforming to the current trends of Hip Hop. The album is Wale authentically doing this rap thing, his way.
Wale stands tall on the album exuding unwavering confidence. He delves into who he is as an artist , and he says it with his chest. He unapologetically speaks on his contributions to the music industry and Hip Hop culture over the past decade and who he is as a lover.
Sonically, the album lands a 9 out of 10. But, you know, if it’s one thing, fans can rest assured on its Wale’s guarantee to submit production that wanders beyond trap beats. The inclusion of GO-GO music — D.C.’s beloved genre — is refreshing to hear.
My one and only hitch with the album is the placement of “Poke It Up.” The third song on the album subconsciously makes its successor,“Tiffany Nikes,” appear flat.
“Poke It Out” has grown on me since its release as a single. While it still isn’t my favorite song from the two artists. I can respect what it offers. It’s a playful song from the two who are notoriously known to hone so deeply into their craft that “rappity rap” seeps from their pores.
As for the album’s tracklist, there’s a good blend between ‘slow jams’ and high-tempo tracks.
There are more than enough ‘love’ songs on this album to keep me satisfied, as I’m always elated to hear Wale in this manner.
Wale is GOATED for slow jams! He’s one of a kind when it comes to writing songs that women can deeply appreciate.
Let’s be honest, Wale’s pen is the man all of us single women wish we could lockdown! Attentiveness, self-awareness, accountability for past transgressions. Ladies, am I wrong?
This leads me to the “It’s Officially Cuffing Season” portion of the album.
“Dearly Beloved”(feat. Jamie Foxx) this song deserves its own blog.
“Extra Special” (feat. Ant Clemons)
“Fire & Ice”
All 4 are classic examples of Wale’s appeal to women. Romanticism in Hip Hop, a lost form and lane that Wale owns!
As for the “rapper’s delight” aspect of the album, the following songs are where Wale unleashes his star power as an emcee and writer.
“Name Ring Bells”
“Light Years” (feat. Rick Ross)
“Down South” (feat. Maxo Kream & Yella Beezy).
“Dearly Beloved” (feat. Jamie Foxx)
These songs are the highlight of the album! They’re nostalgic, like something of his 2009, 2011, 2012’s releases. Yet, they’re reminiscent without feeling outdated.
Folarin II is the win I desired for Wale. It’s the album we needed from him in 2021.
It’s a glimpse of a more inspired Wale.