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Wale - The Gifted Album Cover

Wale - The Gifted

Reviewed by
5.0
WaleThe Gifted
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Record Label: Maybach Music Group/Atlantic
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
The only thing more disheartening than watching a once-great rapper fall into a cycle of releasing mediocre album after mediocre album (Lil Wayne, Eminem), is watching a rapper that once showed loads of potential fail to capitalize on said potential with mediocre album after mediocre album. Wale is the perfect example of this. His first couple of mixtapes showed us a rapper that was versatile, talented, and had a style that was fresh and exciting, but his two full lengths Attention: Deficit and Ambition showed us a rapper that had fallen victim to your typical pop-rap tropes and had failed to develop and harness a unique or interesting personality. The Gifted sees him further away from the promise of his early mixtapes than ever before, but the most disappointing thing is that this could be seen coming from a mile away.

To Wale's credit, he really tried to bring something fresh to his sound with this album. The front half is filled with soulful, smooth jams that call back to a funkier time in hip-hop, and the production on the songs in this style is gorgeous. “LoveHate” is one of the most pleasing songs on the record with Wale locking into the groove and showing off his skills as an MC. For the most part, though, Wale just isn't strong enough behind the mic to sustain the bombast and beauty of some of these songs. On “Golden Salvation,” the beat completely overpowers him to the point where its hard to focus on anything that's coming out of his mouth. Which doesn't even matter, because what's coming out of his mouth are a bunch of hollow brags from a man who isn't half as good or special as he thinks he is, a common theme on the album.

Surprisingly enough, the best parts of the album come when he isn't trying to resurrect a nostalgic musical era in gospel and soul. Instead, Wale sounds best here when he's placed in songs that you could find on nearly any pop-rap album today. From the upbeat trap banger “Clappers” to the obvious song-for-the-women “Tired of Dreaming,” these are moments where Wale sounds like he actually fits in. Which is disappointing, because on nearly any other rap album, these would be obvious pitfalls. There are, however, a number of missteps that do occur during the back half and really all throughout the album. “Vanity” uses a cliché “Mad World” sample (the original) and is one trance synth away from being the cheesiest song of 2013. Elsewhere, Wiz Khalifa shows up on a song that is clearly catered for Wiz Khalifa with “Rotation,” a half-baked stoner anthem. Near the front of the album, Wale gets completely upstaged by his fellow MMG label mate Meek Mill, and it shows just how uninteresting Wale is when stacked up against his peers.

The Gifted is a horribly disjointed album. If Wale would have gone one way or the other (soulful nostalgic beats or straight up pop-rap), the album would probably be at least a little bit better. But the album suffers from the same problem that Wale suffers as a rapper; a severe lack of a purpose and a real identity. Wale wears a number of personalities throughout the album, ranging from a guy who thinks he's better than everyone else to a guy that just wants to have fun, and a number of others, but he simply doesn't bring anything interesting to these personality types. “Bricks” summarizes his issues nicely. It's a song that is basically a carbon copy of the title track from Ambition, only touched up with a few bright horns and vocals. It comes off as a watered down version of that song, and on this album, Wale comes off as a watered down version of himself.

5/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 43
10:19 AM on 06/28/13
#2
lilRIPsta
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On his mixtapes, there are few better than Wale. His studio albums are garbage though
10:26 AM on 06/28/13
#3
RonStoppable
yeezy season approachin
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Real disappointing. I liked his mixtapes, and even Attention: Deficit, but it's just been so uninteresting and uninspired since then.
10:28 AM on 06/28/13
#4
Holly HoX!
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Wale is honestly the greatest music anomaly of the past ten years. I just don't know what to say or think anymore. It's equally sad, disheartening and mind blowing.

Mixtape About Nothing to this. RIP Wale....five years ago.
10:29 AM on 06/28/13
#5
Jake Jenkins
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Wale is honestly the greatest music anomaly of the past ten years. I just don't know what to say or think anymore. It's equally sad, disheartening and mind blowing.

Mixtape About Nothing to this. RIP Wale....five years ago.
hahaha, exactly. its just..... i dont even know what to say at this point. i feel like he's never going to find his footing again.
10:51 AM on 06/28/13
#6
Holly HoX!
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hahaha, exactly. its just..... i dont even know what to say at this point. i feel like he's never going to find his footing again.

He's so far gone now. It's sad. I literally lost my shit when Mixtape About Nothing came out. I thought I found my new favorite rapper. That was short lived. So many career misfires. It's over.
10:56 AM on 06/28/13
#7
Jason Yelle
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Ill admit I liked his past 2 albums. Especially his debut, but ever since then, I think hes fallen into the whole typical MMG label, where each rapper has some sort of slogan that is usually heard throughout a part of the album, and to me thats a bit naive. Wale clearly has much more potential than rapping about "blunts on rotation" with Wiz and 2chainz. It makes me wonder, is he really that egotistical?
10:59 AM on 06/28/13
#8
Holly HoX!
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If you read half the lyrics on Mixtape About Nothing you'd come to the conclusion Wale is the biggest hypocrite to ever live. EVER.
11:32 AM on 06/28/13
#9
cubine
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i guess there's a reason everybody on their grandma has tweeted hate about this guy haha
11:34 AM on 06/28/13
Holly HoX!
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Ill admit I liked his past 2 albums. Especially his debut, but ever since then, I think hes fallen into the whole typical MMG label, where each rapper has some sort of slogan that is usually heard throughout a part of the album, and to me thats a bit naive. Wale clearly has much more potential than rapping about "blunts on rotation" with Wiz and 2chainz. It makes me wonder, is he really that egotistical?

I don't understand what's being said here.
12:03 PM on 06/28/13
Jason Yelle
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I don't understand what's being said here.
Wale tends to have lyrics directed towards ambition and fame, Rick Ross tends to talk about rosay, and the typical "awh" noise he makes.
12:21 PM on 06/28/13
keep swinging
Lousy Poet
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I blame Ricky Ross
12:25 PM on 06/28/13
keepthechange11
Blink and you miss a beat
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Wale's got talent for sure but he knows that he has to have some pop appeal to sell records and I haven't heard the whole record yet but I'm a bit discouraged by the few clips I have heard :/
01:09 PM on 06/28/13
lovemetal24
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Www.absoluterap.net
01:09 PM on 06/28/13
Jake Jenkins
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yes, i was hired back in february to start covering hip-hop, thanks for noticing

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