Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wale – The Gifted (2013) – Review

Review: Wale seems to reside just on the precipice of blowing up – he has the lyrical skill and flow; he just has never had a big hit. His first two albums Attention Deficit and Ambition are both good, but do not stand out either. With his third album, The Gifted, Wale seems to have both embraced his place in hip hop and desperately grasped for a breakthrough hit with a somewhat random assembling of guest features.

The Gifted is at its best when Wale is just riffing off the beats. He has such a nimble flow and he is a layered storyteller that his raps alone are enough to sustain the listener. His lyrics give a much more nuanced and realistic view of urban culture than most other artists who still speak for the streets. Wale’s verses have substance. Musically, the album is very vibrant and often the beats have more of a live band feel, which is a nice change from the constant flow of EDM influenced hip hop songs (and just every genre really). The live drums really pop.

But for all its positives, the album is just flooded with pointless features by artistes that do not fit Wale’s sound, who seemingly are only there to increases sales and draw new listeners – like: Yo Gotti, Nicki Minaj, Juicy J, Rihanna, Wiz Khalifa, Ne-Yo, and 2 Chainz. None of them bring anything to the album. Wale’s MMG mates Meek Mill and Rick Ross also show up, but again neither stand out and their styles somewhat clash with Wale’s – though, Meek Mill and Wale do have some chemistry. The Gifted would probably be a better album without all these features (as really only Cee-Lo Green and Tiara Thomas bring something worthwhile), especially when the genre’s best recent albums (good kid, m.A.A.d city, Born Sinner, and Yeezus) have all been built around a singular voice – all these random features dilute the album’s impact.

The Gifted is sure to please fans of Wale, as it is a good hip hop album. However, it is also slightly disappointing (as it is almost a great album, held back by all the features). 3/5

Essential Tracks:
1)      Golden Salvation (Jesus Piece) – Produced by Lee Major
2)      Bad – Produced by Kelson Camp and Tiara Thomas, featuring Tiara Thomas
3)      88 – Produced by Just Blaze

Available on: Digital Download

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