The cycle continues. Nas’ “The World Is Yours” is referenced in one of his later songs “Thief’s Theme” which in turn is referenced in Wale’s new song “Winter Wars,” itself an homage to a classic Ghostface Killah song. Sound confusing – you aren’t alone. But in truth, the greatest works are usually cross-referential, because they drag years of experience and passion to the plate. Wale, more so than most, is a real student of the game.
On “Winter Wars,” Wale goes bar for bar with the greats, first by flipping Nas’ “I take summers off ’cause I love winter beef” into an expanded body of work. Before you balk at the use of vocal sampling, remember that it’s still in use today, most prominently on “Sicko Mode” where a Texas legend (Big Hawk RIP) rises from the ashes to deliver a smoky refrain.
Wale has been productive this summer, but unlike his contemporaries, 2018 didn’t produce a memorable full-length project from the stately rapper. All that should change now that he’s under contract with Warner Bros. Keep it locked for plenty of Wale in 2019.