“…they say that money change you, but money don’t change you. It just make you more of what you already are”
That line from the esteemed Bishop Tay D. Jakes holds a lot of weight. I can’t speak from personal experience, because, well, my money really isn’t that long yet. But that’s neither here nor there. When I look at some of my favorite rappers transitioning from independent to major labels or “underground” to “mainstream” it’s definitely true.
In this case, analyzing the career trajectory of Wale since he released The Mixtape About Nothing four years ago today, you can see Phonte’s line from “That Ain’t Love” is definitely applicable. Some people Wale has “sold out” since his alignment with Rick Ross and Maybach Music Group early last year, but a closer look shows the content in his music is mostly the same. Shrink to fit Levis and Dunks have been replaced with lyrics about cross country trips on planes and 600 Benzes. See how that Phonte lyric applies now?
The Mixtape About Nothing was Wale’s 4th mixtape and the first full length project by Wale I heard. I wasn’t disappointed and it stayed in the rotation for months. Heavily based on his affinity for the TV series Seinfield, the conceptual mixtape featured social commentary (“The Kramer”), his view on artistic expression (“The Artistic Integrity”), and a candid display on maturity and being a parent (“The Grown Up).
While we don’t always hear as much depth as his pre-MMG days there’s no question The Mixtape About Nothing was the turning point in Wale’s career.