Here's a interesting write up on one of the BIGGEST sites in the WORLD! I thought I would share it with the DMV!
The Wale Situation
Prologue: I have an enormous amount of respect for those who claim the DMV as their home. I realize that certain aspects of this article may inspire the hords of the DC faithful to try to hang me with a noose of SB laces but trust and believe that I only write what I feel and my opinion really means nothing at the end of the day. DMV folks, I still love you.
So let’s put this out there right off of the bat ok? I was never a big Wale guy. I have some friends who would rather listen to Benzino freestyle for three hours than download a Wale song, and I have some friends who swear up and down that Wale is the truth.
Despite not being a big fan, I’ve been well aware of this fellow’s track record over the past two years as he was being heralded as the MC that would put the DMV on the map. Fast-forward now to November 10th, 2009 and Wale is putting out his first major label debut Attention Deficit. An album that I could not escape like Snuggie commercials on late night TV. This body of music has not only been hyped from here to the mother land and back again, but it has received the biggest promotional push I’ve seen in years for any artist’s first album.
With those being the facts, I figure what the hell. Let me uphold my duty as a law breaking citizen of the 21st century and download this album and give it a fair chance. I would give the guy who’s name no-one-could-pronounce-at-first a shot at proving that he lived up to the hype I had endured hearing for the past two months. Well, what follows is my reaction. And in case you’e somewhat sesitive, I’ll warn you now that I’m not rushing out to purchase any “Nike boots” in which to do a W.A.L.E. D.A.N.C.E.
My very first impression? They really, really, really tried to sell this album. Take a look at the roll call of artists present on nine out of fourteen total tracks. Literally everyone from arguable legends like Pharrell and Bun B to heavy radio hitters like Gucci and Rihanna. (That’s not to mention fellow up and comers Chrisette Michelle, J.Cole or Marsha Ambrose.) They jam packed this disc with more collaborations than Nike SB had in 2007 and yet somehow I’m not convinced.
Follow me on this one. If Wale is the man who is going to not only put the DMV on the map, but also be one of the biggest forces in helping to usher in a new school of rappers…you’d think he would absolutely impress me on at least a few songs on his album right? I mean with some sort of lyrical mastery that would absolutely shatter my ear drums and lead me to hug the nearest dollar bills and coints next to me because they are as close to Washington D.C. as I can get right?
Where was that on the album? Since the very first day that I hear a Wale track, probably somewhere around two years ago. I have never been blown away by his skills on the microphone. There is something lacking to me, maybe it’s his voice, maybe it’s that he was so closely tied to a sneaker culture I was exiting at the time he came out or maybe it’s just plain and simple the fact that as a rapper he is just good at best.
Take a serious look at it. When I think of the other up and coming rappers in the game-I’m talking about a Drake, J.Cole, Pac Div, Blu, hell even throw Cudi in there. They have all at least once succeeded in make me stop, nod my head and go, “Damn, yeah he deserves the hype. That was ridiculous.”
I am not getting this from Wale.
The album has production of epic proportions. “Let It Loose” had the potential to be so over played that it would be annoying despite the genius hook from Razor Scooter/Skateboard/Roller Blade P or whatever we’re calling Pharrell today. But as soon as Wale got into his first verse… I literally tuned the song out. As soon as the hook came back? I was back into it, but Wale succeeded once again in losing me over the course of his verses.
There’s some light on the album. Prescription has some amazing production and some verses from Wale that are highly listen-to-able but again not stunning. The man has talent and I respect the degree to which he’s promoted himself and succeeded to date but to all my brethren out there calling out his name in adulation. Is this really the savior of the DMV? The fore bearer of the new movement? He’s cool guys I suppose but I don’t feel like this is the best out there. I think there needs to be some competition, maybe from the DMV, maybe from somewhere else but this can’t really be it?
From the amount of hype so many of you guys gave him, the absurd supporting cast assembled around Wale to make the album a success and the largely genius production throughout Wale still failed to make me a believer.
No par intended for those who are a fan of the man, all the more power to you. I even took it easy on him in this article. There’s a lot of things that could have been brought to light here but I feel like it’s counter productive to really shape any one’s thoughts who may be reading this and accepting it as truth without listening for themselves.
The essential problem is this.
I just feel as though maybe Wale was raised onto a platform to be a savior and star and perhaps maybe we all moved a little fast in choosing him to be the artist standing on that platform. Hell, I’m not even sure Wale wants to be on that platform.
At some point I think there needed to be a step back and analyzing of this man’s skill and ability to ‘wow’ on a track before we all cosigned his proclamation as rap’s “prescription” in his own words. That goes for everyone from the DMV to L.A. and in between. Best of luck to the artist on future releases. I’ll be listening, and should he inspire, paying for the music as well.