Who the f*ck does Wale think he is? That’s one of the first things you hear on his new LP, The Gifted, that just dropped on Tuesday. After years of mix tape buzz and MMG label comradery, is the DMV rapper’s third album worth all the hype?
After spending 24 hours with The Gifted, the answer is yes; despite Wale’s reputation for having delusions of grandeur, being whiney, and letting Twitter temper tantrums get the best of him, his new album is actually pretty solid. And why wouldn’t it be? Wale Folarin’s been putting in work since ’05 and first got his legitimate industry foothold in ’07. He’s lived and he’s learned since Attention Deficit and Ambition, and maturity can be felt on this latest 16-track release.
With a mix of single-potential commercial songs, uplifting/personal records, and big-name features (CeeLo Green, Rihanna and 2 Chainz, to name a few) that are delightfully not too MMG-heavy, the album beckons repeat listens from the wordplay-savvy Rick Ross protégé. While it became clear that some tracks are stronger than others after our initial spins, it’s hard to label any tracks throw-aways. Outside of “Bad” and “LoveHate Thing” (songs we already know as singles), don’t miss the LP’s highlights below.
“The Curse of the Gifted”
There’s a bust of Wale on his album cover, and this intro track is his way of setting the tone for a record that isn’t shy about boasting his skill set.
I wasn’t going to put this song on the list because it’s an pseudo anthemic song I normally wouldn’t like. But I like it, and that threw me off. Even though it’s a blatant attempt for the rapper to defend his lifestyle, the hook is fire and the production meshes with Wale well.
“Tired of Dreaming” (featuring Ne-Yo & Rick Ross)
Serious hit potential here, you guys. While Folarin describes his favorite woman, Ne-Yo rips a hook that’s radio-freindly without pandering, and Rozay swoops in to deliver a slick-and-sexy verse for the ladies.
“Black Heroes/Outro About Nothing” (featuring Jerry Seinfeld)
Continuing his giving no fizzucks theme, this direct-but-uplifting exit track helps you put your coat on one arm at a time before you leave Wale’s house. As a bonus, there’s a light-weight skit between Wale and Jerry Seinfeld teasing their alleged future collabo, Album About Nothing. Pop culture hybridity can be so beauteous, amiright?
In case you missed it, Wale’s new video for “HateLove Thing” dropped Sunday. Peep!