Album Review: Wale – Ambition
When Rick Ross formed his own Miami Heat-style squad, Maybach Music Group would be the next of the great music powerhouse teams like G.O.O.D. Music, YMCMB, RocNation, etc. With the streets and the blogs on smash, Ross would align a small powerful cast of musicians. An MC from DC, named Wale is part of this cast. After an unsuccessful freshman album, Attention Deficit, Wale is hungry to prove the naysayers wrong. As his sophomore album reaches the masses, it is only evident that Ralph is planning to stay relevant in the game.
Now with a solid Maybach Music/Warner Bros. backing him, Falorin is feeling the time is now and his strong followers won’t disagree. For those who are new to this movement, just remove all your negative comments out your way and prepare to see ambition at its peak.
KillerHipHop was pleased and honored to be invited to Wale’s “Ambition” listening session and check out our review after the jump.
Don’t Hold Your Applause
For all who have followed Wale’s career, you should know his grind to where he is now. While many are just now catching on, Wale’s day one fans know what he has been about for years now. As the opening track, Wale uses this intimate moment to tell all critics (new or old) to not hold their applause. Reassuring that what’s to come next is nothing you’ve ever heard. Clap on.
Double M Genius
It’s pretty much set in stone. Every great rapper has that one track to just go off on. So in this case, “Double M Genius” is Wale’s “Otis”. Being strictly dedicated to “fly talk” and wordplay. Ralph’s lyrical exercise has earned him that title among the best active young rappers.
With Wale’s new clique consisting of Rick Ross, one can only imagine some of the things that go down on a Miami night with MMG. Hey, even LeBron took his talents down there. This track captures the feel of life in South Beach. With Wale’s love for LeBron’s shoes, its evident this would be an extravagant event. This is what happens when DC meets MIA.
Who are the trendsetters of tomorrow? Sure the greats had a hell of a run in their day, but who is working to be at the top of the game for the next generation? In this track, Wale is throwing his name in that pot and saying “I’m trying to become legendary”. With a “f*ck money, f*ck fame” mindset, Wale goes off on this DJ Toomp produced track like how no one else his age could. As things come and go, it’s about the rhyming now. And with Ambition, Wale is dedicating himself to earning that status in hip-hop.
Lotus Flower Bomb (feat. Miguel)
With a slew of hits releasing, Wale makes sure he channels his inner-poet. The metaphor of a lotus flower is sure to cater to his female fan base. The female fans have come to love Wale’s confidence to show an emotional, sensual, romantic side. Hearing Miguel’s smooth melodies all over the radio, this duet is the perfect one-two combo. (**fingers snapping**)
With an undeniably dope beat, Wale finds time to address his new wave of fans that are slowly, but surely, coming around harder than ever. The beauty behind this song is less obvious to listeners simply because of the catchy feel the radio loves. Yet, the irony behind it is how much knowledge he’s dropping on a radio ready instrumental. As Kendrick Lamar once said, “We don’t listen unless there’s an 808”. So with lines like “broads gon’ follow” Wale acknowledges his recent success is much due to his change of sound.
Focused (feat. KiD CuDi)
Knowing the past relationship between Kid Cudi and Wale, it’s a no-brainer to the anticipation behind this song. At this point in both of their careers, this duo fits for the concept. With Cudi expanding as a artist and even as an actor, persistence and diligence is important. For Wale’s first release under the Maybach Music/Warner Bros imprint, Ambition promises substance that makes it clear of where Cudi and Wale are at in their careers respectively and how they keep striving for excellence.
Sabotage (feat. Lloyd)
Just like the rest of Wale’s songs for women, “Sabotage” holds an up-tempo R&B rhythm. With Lloyd, Ralph brings a concept inspired by a two hour long argument with an ex-girlfriend. Wale uses his own personal experiences as examples of when a woman can sabotage her relationship by living in the moment. With a one-two step groove lead by a kickin’ drum pattern, this track really embraces the feel of a live band. Nonetheless, Wale never fails to indulge his female audience.
White Linen (Coolin) (feat. Ne-Yo)
A great deal of the tracks off Ambition feature R&B artists. With the crisp 2-step beat, Wale reaches out the Ne-Yo to bring that luxurious R&B sound. Knowing Ne-Yo’s appeal to women, the ladies are sure to bring out the white linen with the springtime feel to it.
Slight Work (feat. Big Sean)
Both having album releases this year, Wale and Big Sean are in position to shock the world. Although they bring you Slight Work, nothing has been slight about their work ethic these past few seasons. These two young spitters take a shot at Throne-esque Ping-Pong flow. With wordplay and punch lines coming a million miles a minute, B.O.A. meets Finally Famous to bless us all with a much-anticipated banger.
Ambition (feat. Meek Mill & Rick Ross)
With Ambition as the first solo project under Maybach Music since Self Made, this trio of rappers takes it upon themselves to build on their label. Invested energy, time, and money has brought MMG to where it is today. Despite the release of Attention Deficit, Wale looks at this coming release as his Chapter 1 of his career. In terms of a novel, Attention Deficit is the foreword to Wale’s overall career and won’t be understood until it’s all said and done.
As new and old fans have come to know Wale for his appreciation of the ambitious girl. The inspiration for this track comes from Wale observing hard-working single mothers. Over a catchy smooth synthesized groove, Wale brings the ladies to a concept along the lines of an “Ambitious Pt.3” and a melody produced by The Bizness
No Days Off
Consider this a reiteration of Ralph’s impeccable work ethic. With the same message he’s been delivering even before More About Nothing (the mixtape), Wale brings a new meaning to ‘no days off’. His drive and determination to become legendary leads him to lines like “Momma want me to find a wife…I got work to do.” Over a gritty guitar and rock style drum pattern, Wale tells listeners that taking breaks will leave you broke. The lyricism in the song is simply Falorin coming through with what his fans have loved, or at least going to love.
DC or Nothing
It’s funny what Wale and President Obama have in common; both have a great influence amongst the black community and both hold it down for DC. So without doubt, Wale gives us his ode to his city. From the city of mumbo sauce and Go-Go music, here comes hip-hop’s breath of fresh air.
That Way (ft. Jeremih & Rick Ross)
We’ve heard this song all over the country this past summer, so you guys already know how this feels to the public. Especially when it was on the collaborating, Maybach Music’s Self Made Vol. 1.
Overall, Wale has not failed to produce a great album. Although this is Wale’s sophomore effort, the body of work Ambition brings to hip-hop is a breath of fresh air and almost a clean slate for Wale’s career, as well. With lines such as, “They gon’ love me for my ambition,” Falorin ensures new and old listeners a pleasant surprise. With a complete sound turn-around from Attention Deficit, “Ambition” is proof of growth and persistence. Wale brings different sounds to the table as he will give you a fast paced beat then slow it down for the ladies in his R&B creations. Consider this a great work as Ralph knocks on the door of hip-hop’s ‘maybe’ legendary status. As for negative comments, his R&B collection in the album did go a little bit over board. He could of used less R&B artists and brought in more lyrical features for his ‘Ambitious’ project. If he continues on this road, he will get criticized for being a ‘soft’ rapper catering to the female audience. I give “Ambition” a solid 4 out of 5 KillerStars.