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Wale, The Eleven One Eleven Theory

Every MC has theories, and Wale has plenty, sharing his prophecies over his 18-track mixtape, The Eleven One Eleven Theory.

The introspective intro “‘Theory’ 11.1.11″ has the D.C. native setting the tone over bare piano keys with the opening line, “Sometimes a simple cadence can get in the way of greatness of a nigga’s statements.” Thankfully, Wale makes sure not to allow any cadences get in the way of his statements, as he proceeds to spit furious bars throughout the tape on an array of subjects, from women to ambition.

Tracks such as “Varsity Blues,” “Underdog” and “Barry Sanders,” show Wale’s love of sports, and see him using that love as a tool to explore wider issues. “Barry Sanders” has the MMG spitter comparing himself to a young Kobe Bryant, who was first drafted by the then-Charlotte Hornets, before landing and winning five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. “Interscope feeling like Charlotte when they traded Kob’ ya know/But I let it go, Rozay finna re-up/He got himself a Kobe and they stuck with Vlade Divac,” he rhymes.

“Varsity Blues” finds Wale tackling the double standard of the treatment of star college athletes—and the NCAA’s vast bread-winning because of them—all while looking at the issue in a larger social and racial context. “Brandon Davies had relations/What if Jimmer was screwing?” he asks, making reference to a Black college basketball player from BYU being kicked off the team this past season, but wondering if the squad’s White star would have suffered the same fate. The former XXL Freshman brings his message home as he closes the final verse, kicking, “Fuck who yo’ current team is/Cause every QB with my features is a Willie Beamen/We never gon’ be shit/Less we believe we the shit.”

The nifty sports references eventually pave the way for other deeper tracks like “Podium,” which sees Mr. Folarin preaching from the pulpit and delivering a passionate sermon with lines like, “My people pass the collection plate/He buy the Benz with acres and crazy real estate/That’s motivation, my people living wicked/That’s food for thought, you muthafuckas can do the dishes.”

If The Eleven One Eleven Theory is a taste of what’s to come for Wale, Ambition, and Maybach Music Group, then Wale’s analogy on “Barry Sanders” may be correct, and Rick Ross made a steal of an acquisition. —Mark Lelinwalla

  • john michael

    how is lil wayne’s sorry for the wait rated the same as this? thats such bullshit. give lil wayne an L or this should be XXL

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Ajax

    I agree with beats but other than that good review

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  • tay

    I’m sorry. sorry for the wait was kind of tray.. i don’t see how wale didn’t get xxl i hate to see the rating you gave him for the more about nothing mix tape.

  • jfl11

    you people do realize XXL is perfect, classic, timeless don’t you? if you think a Wale mixtape is any of the above you are just stanning. it’s really good, deserved the XL. who cares what Wayne’s got

  • Desmond

    Well written Wale is a visionary, on the 11.1.11 Theory intro he tells it as it is ‘I pray that they dont say that I’m smart but they see my vision’. That mixtape is secured to be in the top 3 of this years mixtapes. I love the way he cleverly speaks his beliefs nd the way he aligns his wordplay, he a genius. Please follow me on twitter @Desmondtheboss its that good positive music all the way.

  • Pugz

    @Desmond I agree with the others that this COULD HAVE (possibly) been an XXL because of the fact that its a mixtape. Mixtapes are held to a different standard that albums as far as a timeless classic of sorts. So I honestly think this mixtape is XXL among mixtapes as far as one of the very best, clearly not XXL for an album. Oh, and you guys should have noted how nuts that Chain Music beat is.

  • Cavz100

    Really good review XXL.I thought it was a real good mixtape an deserves the reviews an all the hype around it.I hope his album does well an Interscope feel like sh*tt while Ro$$ laughs all the way to the bank.MMG!!!!!

  • JKH

    VLADE DIVAC IS A BETTER BASKETBALL PLAYER THAN WALE IS A RAPPER.

  • http://xxlmag.com uncleshady1316

    ross slick knew what he was doing lol…if u aint speaking gangsta on every verse u get overlooked…wale is crazy with it,niggas aint hearing half his lines, hes nicer then meek mills easy…………………….

  • $yk

    why don’t y’all ever link up the mixtapes you’re reviewing?

  • ssk

    that was black cobain on podium, not wale. smmfh

  • jstforkicks

    This needs to be XXXXXXXXXL

  • Pingback: Wale Enlists Ne-Yo, Lloyd, & Miguel for R&B-Heavy Sophomore Album | XXLMAG.COM

  • Azhar

    One of the best mixtapes i’ve heard in awhile, from the beats to the bars, Wale did his thing.