I’m not even going to bullshit around with this review, let’s get right to it: if I were to have put Wale’s album against the ones that dropped the previous week (Kanye, J. Cole, Mac Miller, etc….The Gifted drops this Tuesday, by the way), I’d put it at the top of the heap.
It’s just the well-rounded album that one would look for in Hip-Hop.
While it kind of looks as if Wale took a page or two from good kid, m.A.A.d City as far as cohesion, it’s still 100% Wale, down the to live instrumentation vibe he gives on much of Gifted that allows you truly visualize what city he came from.
‘Rotation’ Feat. 2 Chainz & Wiz Khalifa
Gifted starts off with hate (a couple of knuckleheads deface the statue you see on the album artwork), and aside from the topic of women (Ex. ‘Tired Of Dreaming’), that chip on our former underdog’s shoulder continues to take on a large part of the album (‘LoveHate Thing’ is an excellent example). He chants that he wasn’t supposed to have shit on the excellent Meek Mill-assisted ‘Heaven’s Afternoon’ and speaks for those who can’t speak for themselves on ‘Bricks’ (featuring dope boy Yo Gotti and the formerly-incarcerated Lyfe Jennings).
‘Clappers’ Feat. Nicki Minaj & Juicy J
For those looking to party, Wale offers the lackluster ‘Clappers’ featuring Juicy J and Nicki Minaj. While any drunk club or concertgoer will move to the track, I honestly feel that it just comes off forced; it’s like the obligatory DC track on a DC rapper album (who — for the record — needs no song of the sort to show where he’s from, as the District bleeds out all over the album in his speech and subject matter). Then there’s the remix to Tiara Thomas’ baby, ‘Bad’, which now has Rihanna holding feature duties: unfortunately, even a big feature won’t hold up against the solid track that Wale’s former artist helped to provide for the project (the “original” version is now a bonus track). It’s unfortunate that they even parted ways.
‘Bad’ Feat. Tiara Thomas
What makes this a repeatable listen over anything else is Wale’s still-progressing lyricism; in addition to the aforementioned first track (‘The Curse Of The Gifted’), look no further than ‘Rotation’ (further up this review) to see Mr. Folarin literally outrap collaborators 2 Chainz and Wiz Khalifa, lyrically, sonically…the whole nine. In addition, he’s harmonizing more. A lot more…just check out the airy ‘Vanity’. I wouldn’t have been able to say this about anything that came before A Mixtape About Nothing.
Overall, as I said before, Wale’s The Gifted is an absolutely solid effort. This is the type of album I’d bet will still be worth a full listen years from now, which is what makes it a potential classic.
You just have to press play and listen from beginning to end to understand.
PREORDER: Wale – The Gifted (iTunes)