“Back in the go go”

Kelly Fraser


Wale’s signing of a joint label deal with Interscope and Mark Ronson’s Allido Records is important for two reasons. First, the simple fact that Wale, who has a Gilbert Arenas-size presence in the nation’s capital, done got signed! Second, and more importantly, is the fact that we now have a timetable for what is sure to be an earth-shattering moment when the album drops next fall.

Wale has an impressive record for someone who was unsigned until last week. With only a couple of mixtapes under his belt, Wale has nonetheless performed on the MTV Video Music Awards, toured with Justice, collaborated with Lil Wayne and Bun B, and established some kind of relationship with Nike after his ridiculously triumphant “Nike Boots” single.

“Back in The Go Go” continues to up the ante. Producer Best Kept Secret unleashes a dynamite and noticeably overstuffed beat with breakneck drum rolls, record scratches, sped-up chants and xylophone – pretty much anything he can get his hands on. And yet amazingly, Wale cuts right through it with top-dog bravado and more hockey references than, well, probably any hip-hop track ever. Bun B and Pusha T similarly deliver confident, witty verses that match the force of the jam-packed production.

For those unfamiliar with Wale, “Back in The Go Go” is as good a launching point as any of his other singles. It shows his knack for pop references, honed lyricism and flow that should make Kanye extremely jealous. And then of course there are the ubiquitous D.C. references: “DC hip hop get my U street on / Cops acting funny see / They get their Blue Streak on.” Wale’s emergence will certainly jump start a once faltering D.C. hip-hop scene, but don’t be surprised if it changes the entire hip-hop landscape in the process.

4 out of 5 stars.


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