Wale sounds like he is fully in his bag in “Folarin II.”
“Fluctuate” is the perfect album filler, to me (I mean that in the most endearing way).
There is a myriad of four-star songs on this album that I think could’ve occupied the fifth spot on this list. With that being said, I don’t think any of them is as soulful, effortlessly trill, or infectious as “Fluctuate.” Whether it’s Wale’s real-ass lyrics about loyalty in his verses or the song’s infectious hook, I think this song just has a spirit to it that is appealing.
4. Down South
Northern Virginia is not the south, people!
“Down South” is powered by a flipped version of Mike Jones’s classic “Still Tippin” beat. Over it, Wale hits us with raps that effectively let us know how real ones move in the streets, Yella Beezy hits us with raps that promote violence, and Maxo Kream hits us with raps that indicate that he has a gun store and a porno shop at his house. While Wale slides his ass off on the track, Beezy sounds unchained and Maxo sounds unbothered.
3. New Balances
Wale puts up a masterful performance in “New Balances.”
I love that Wale decided to make “New Balances” the intro track to this album. In my opinion, the song perfectly describes how sly, woke, down-to-earth, Drake-ish, and Naija he is. The song also serves as a quick reminder that the DMV rapper is nice when it comes to dropping clever punchlines and braggadocios lyrics in feverish manners.
I don’t understand why “Angles” isn’t played on the radio every hour. The song is hotter than my upper lip.
“Angles” is powered by this beat that flips Diddy’s classic “I Need A Girl” beat. Over it, Chris Brown and Wale both pay homage to women that know that they are the s**t. While the former blesses us with a passionate hook, the latter hits us with raps that are delivered slyly, astutely, and efficiently. All in all, “Angles” is a certified hit.
1. Poke It Out
My ex used to call me “Q-Tip,” so I somewhat feel some type of way about this joint (Word to Rich Homie Quan).
I cannot deny the flipped version of the classic “Vivrant Thing” beat that powers “Poke It Out.” As for Wale and J. Cole, they absolutely shine on the song! The former hits us with a hook that is catchy as hell and a verse that will remind you how much of a playa he is, while the latter hits us with bars that will confirm that he is cooler than a cucumber and flows that will confirm that he knows how to parallel park cars in the midst of serious traffic.
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. New Balances (4/5)
2. Name Ring Bell (4/5)
3. Poke It Out (5/5)
4. Tiffany Nikes (4/5)
5. Caramel (4/5)
6. Fluctuate (4/5)
7. Light Years (3/5)
8. Angles (5/5)
9. Dearly Beloved (4/5)
10. More Love (4/5)
11. Jump In (4/5)
12. Down South (5/5)
13. Extra Special (4/5)
14. Fire & Ice (2/5)
15. Beverly Blvd (4/5)
This is probably my favorite Wale album to date. It’s well-balanced and features a bunch of songs that play into the DMV rapper’s strengths.
People forget that Wale helped usher in the introspective rap era. With that being said, In Folarin II, Wale is exact with his words; especially when he gets a chance to talk about his standing in the game, his relationship with women, his come-up, and social issues. While I am a firm believer that Wale was an insecure rapper in the past, these days he comes across as someone that is completely comfortable in his own skin and around a mic.
When it comes to making unadulterated hits, Wale excels on Folarin II. In my opinion, “Poke It Out” is a certified hit, “Angles” is a certified hit, “Down South” is a certified hit, and “More Love” is a certified hit. He also excels when it comes to making tracks that bridge the gap between R&B and hip-hop.
There are some very interesting features on Folarin II. My favorite guest appearances came from Chris Brown, Yella Beezy, J. Cole, and Lil Chris. At the end of the day, I love that only half of the album has features because I feel like Wale is more than capable of holding his own when it comes to making complete records.
I probably loved the beats on this album more than you did. Though none of them really bounce off the page, I feel like a majority of them were refreshingly smooth and had just the right amount of oomph attached to it.
Wale seemed uncomfortable when he was considered a top dawg, while when he was on the come-up, he seemed just a little too raw. Him flying under the radar is the exact situation that I think he can excel in. Folarin II isn’t going to blow you away when it comes to next-level music; instead, it’s just an extremely solid fifteen-track album that people who simply appreciate quality hip-hop music will enjoy.
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.