Dropping surprise projects has become the thing to do, and Wale is following the trend with Summer on Sunset, an unexpected offering to hold fans over until the release of his fifth studio album, Shine, later this year.
A long-time Seinfeld enthusiast, as evidenced by his mixtapes and albums "about nothing," Wale recruits comedian Jerry Seinfeld to make a cameo on the tape. Seinfeld explains that Wale recently moved to L.A. to "clear his head," and one can only assume Summer on Sunset is inspired by the D.C. native's new surroundings. If this is indeed the case, then hopefully the move isn't permanent.
Despite a promising line-up of collaborators (crooners Raheem DeVaughn and Ty Dolla $ign, Harlem darling Cam'ron and everyone's favourite producer du jour, DJ Mustard), Summer on Sunset manages to be aggressively mediocre from beginning to end. The beats are not hearty enough to resonate, the lyrics are mundane and repetitive, and the hooks lack appetizing bait. Hopefully, the project is not a preview of Shine, but more a purge of the trifles too paltry to include on a studio album.
Still, Sunset has its bright moments. "It's Too Late," produced by Georgia beatsmith Go Grizzly, is one of the few tracks on which Wale's singing actually seems to fit. "Valentino" is a smooth, buoyant backdrop to a hot and naughty summers' night, while Grammy-nominated producer Lee Major laces "Still Up" with earth-shaking drums that Wale and collaborators Phil Adé and Toronto native Jazz Cartier navigate with ease. "Paparazzi" and "Ms Moon" could have been other shining moments on the otherwise lacklustre offering, but sadly, Wale's risible singing makes it difficult to take either song as seriously as he probably intended us to.
Fun but forgettable, Summer on Sunset might have been easier to listen to had it come from a lesser artist. But Wale can definitely do better than this, and has proven so in the past. Let's hope Shine is more noteworthy than this flighty predecessor. (Maybach)