John's Track of the Week: "Chillin'" (Feat. Lady Gaga)

Song: Chillin'
Artist: Wale
Album: Attention: Deficit
Year: 2009

I've noticed a considerable lack of hip-hop coverage here at the site all year, in terms of fairly current stuff, so this is my attempt at changing that. Not to take all the blame, the first half of the year in rap was okay at best. But luckily, the second half has hope (lots of it). Among the albums expected from now until the end of the year are new collections by Jay-Z, Raekwon, Drake, Kid Cudi and today's artist, Wale. Of the three big up-and-comers, it's debatable that Wale is the least-hyped, compared to Cudi and Drake, but perhaps that's about to change. Wale's been recording since 2006, becoming a fixture in the D.C.-Maryland hip-hop scene and putting out three separate mixtapes. Unlike his previously-mentioned peers, his raps focus more on meaningful thought, and have a more underground feel. This has led to comparisons to Mos Def and Talib Kweli, but I'll leave that judgment until his debut drops later this year.

On "Chillin'," Wale's first national-exposure single, he features Lady Gaga and a myriad of D.C. local references to put together his most club-oriented track yet. References to everything from football to Superbad, and homages to Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" and Audio Two's "Top Billin'," not only make it topical, but show Wale's consciousness of the pop culture and music scenes around, and before him. That's probably one of the big draws of Wale, epitomized not here, but actually on his last compilation, The Mixtape About Nothing. Wale draws from Seinfeld, of all places as inspiration, and even gets Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine Benes) to do a skit on the album. For those looking for Attention: Deficit, it's out via Allido Records/Interscope on October 20th.

No comments: