Just two months after the release of his relationship driven EP, It’s Complicated, Wale is back with another four-track offering. Self Promotion features a much different version of Wale than we received the last outing, as the content is based around topics of his current label situation as well as black empowerment.
Wale’s skills as a lyricist really can’t be denied, but on many occasions is overlooked for a number of reasons, many being self-imposed. The brevity of this release works in his favor as it shines a light on his penmanship along with his ability to effectively give perspective on important societal issues. This is best exemplified on a record like “Salary Kaep” where he uses the uses the highly publicized story of Colin Kaepernick and the NFL to unapologetically address racial injustices and empower blacks in a way that doesn’t come off as too preachy. Strong themes are reinforced on “Cassius (Excellency)” where he delves further into these ideas just as potently. Both songs from strictly a lyrical perspective prove that he still puts great effort into his pen, as the intricately delivered raps make for compelling listens.
Self Promotion also has a heater for the summer with the “Body Body Body (Freestyle),” that sounds like it was made to be played at a pool party, a clear contrast from the style of the other songs, but nonetheless is a solid melody driven track. The projects best song is its opener “Negotiations,” not only because of the rapid-fire flows and tough punchlines but because it answers a lot of question fans have been having about his current situation. He lays it all out there, chronicling his journey while reminding listeners that he’s not to be slept on as an MC. Over some fiery production from Ayo N Keyz, Folarin raps, “Mind racin’, negotiatin’ my situation/I’m bad business, the rap industry thinks I’m crazy/The gatekeepers, they hate me say I’m militant/Really niggas don’t feel you unless you doin’ that nigga shit/No Folarin, never change never give up your soul Folarin.”
While no one will mistake the extended player for a bevy of mind-blowing records, each song is strong in its own right. He’s clearly gearing up for the next chapter of his career and this project is a step in the right direction. Overall, Self Promotion is an impressive effort from Wale and is the most focused he’s sounded as an MC since The Album About Nothing.
With the recent announcement that young veteran inked a new deal with Warner Bros., it looks like an album from the DC representative isn’t too far away, and these small doses are doing their job in creating anticipation.