VSL:WEB // Kanye meets Seinfeld

This mixtape is the proverbial shit.

The rapper Wale drops Seinfeld samples — bits of dialogue, Jerry’s stand-up routines, and Michael Richards’s infamous N-word rant — over hard-core hip-hop and go-go beats. Superstar rappers Lil Wayne, Bun B, and Pusha T make surprise appearances, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus herself phones in a hello. (“Wale is a big fan of my show,” she says. “Don’t you think this makes me the coolest person, ever? And don’t you think my kids will think I’m so cool — I’m on this mixtape?”) But Wale’s own flow is his strongest selling point: Picture Black Thought with a sense of humor, or Nas without the messianic grandstanding. Then picture Wale’s face on the cover of Rolling Stone.

Born Olubowale Victor Akintimehin, to Nigerian parents, in 1984, Wale (pronounced “Wall-ay”) gave up a football scholarship and dropped out of college to devote himself fully to music. We say he made the right call: The Mixtape About Nothing is Wale’s fourth full-length assemblage — each has been stronger than the last — and Interscope is set to release a major-label debut in 2009. “If you love substance, then you’ll love Wale,” he raps. “But most niggas love nothing / So I made this tape: [pause]. Get it?” We get it. Now you get it. Best of all, it’s free.

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VSL:WEB // Kanye meets Seinfeld