Tag Archives: Wale

The Article About Nothing: Wale, the underrated

After news that his newly released album, Shine, which has not been so prominent within the realms of the internet, was projected to sell under 30,000 copies in it’s first week, in comparison to Kendrick’s 500,000, the term ‘flop’ began to surface.

Most recently, Joe Budden highlighted the lack of support Wale received (being a major recording artist), citing the disconnect of the radio hit as a factor, and with the release of this effort unlike that of his 2011, Ambition (arguably his biggest album). It featured the street anthem of the same name, a personal favourite, That Way, and the massive (Miguel featured) single Lotus Flower Bomb. His 2013 release Gifted had a similar aesthetic, boasting the hits LoveHate Thing, Bad (and the Remix ft. Rihanna). And then once again, his 2015 Seinfeld concept, The Album About Nothing, the third instalment to his Seinfeld-themed mixtapes, The Mixtape About Nothing (2008) and More About Nothing (2010), The Album About Nothing featured two giant singles, Matrimony featuring Usher, and (the Jeremih assisted) Body. The point being that Joe Budden might be onto something, as there has been a formula and roll out, for his albums, lead with a distinct radio hit. Shine for some reason goes against that, rather than the obvious single choices, they started with PYT, a song which I was listening to the other day, and wondering if it would have been even bigger if say Chris Brown was on the hook? and it felt like an assertive decision from Folarin to push forth with DJ Sam Sneak. It did good, well over 100million plays overall on all platforms, yet still feels like it had more potential. Even the second single, now relying on the feature somewhat, linking with Lil’ Wayne for Runnin’ Back. Definitely an underrated single, it just shows that for some reason, the hype or demand is not there the same way, the moment is coming and going without impacting the masses. I still can go back to his 2009 debut, Attention Deficit, and listen to tracks like Shades, Chillin’, Contemplate, Diary, Beautiful Bliss, or Prescription and be reminded of that time.

The album release was put forward, and the press runs ensue, which was great for me, I wanted to hear the album, but My PYT peaked about 6 to 7 months ago, and so unlike Kendrick’s release with the lyrical warning (which did get air time for the alleged Big Sean diss), but then he gave us Humble, and everyone got behind it, 100 million+ views in a month, then an impressive Coachella set, before the video for DNA, which has only pushed the run further. Yes I know, K Dot is technically a bigger artist than Wale, but here’s the thing, whilst physical sales may be low, Shine has done well on streaming services. Kendrick’s streams are a lot higher, but I tribute a lot of that to not only the sound, but the execution of the roll out.

Bringing me back to My PYT, and the time in which the album was released. The fact that Rozay’s album came before, though it helped the brand, I don’t think it helped Shine.

Wale has been overlooked throughout, from the fact that he had been uplifting the people musically from the get go, even Nike Boots was more for soul than the sole.

A modern-day pioneer for the kick game, you were not checking for foamposites ’til him, even the shoes that followed, he was a big influence. All this is great, but is his name bigger than his artistry?! Has his personality transcended the music, to where, people feel they can speak on him as if he is not one of the most talented poets of his generation?! Is MMG no longer the force it was?! Or are people just not ready for Go-Go music?!

I once thought that it was because his vocals were not as clear as they used to be, but feels more like most media are too busy sucking up to those at the top, to actually pay attention.

Shine will definitely garner more listens over time, just not at the same rapid rate as the more popular names. I was disappointed to see the image of someone not of the culture, accusing Wale of capitalising on the current caribbean trend, for his WizKid, Dua Lipa and Major Lazer collab. Sounds more like Wale once again, pushing the culture forward.

waleneedle

Wale, who recently became a father, he’s obviously sharing his time, and so maybe the process of it all suffered a bit, but regardless..he’s blessed, and that’s present in the music. As we have seen with Drake’s Views, and Kendrick Lamar’s TPAB, great projects, but still received criticism, leading to More Life, and DAMN. Similarly I hope Wale follows suit with his next project.

I believe in the album, it’s a quality project (might be up there as one of his best), and it will grow on you, so I realise, in reality, Wale’s discography is ahead of it’s time. As a fan, I do believe that him as a person has a part to play with things. He’s a real one. Generally, in working environments, university and so forth, some of us at times struggle with the lack of sincerity, the flakiness, leeching and so forth, for someone who wears their heart on their sleeve, not only do they tend to be introvert or anti-social, but it intimidates and only encourages the fakes to segregate further. You know the saying, “people fear what they do not understand”. 

Remaining positive either way, as the music is undeniable. I am definitely looking forward to more new visuals. I’m unaware of the budget etc, My Love obviously, deserves something special, but to be honest, each song could benefit with a video. Fine Girl has so much potential too, it just shows you the spectrum that the album is.

Big up Wale on a solid body of work, I’m definitely enjoying listening to it.

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FDM

FDM, better known in the UK as Fun*dmental 03 were pretty much our version of B2K, consisting of Varren, Kyle and Jermaine, the group rose to prominence quite quickly, however recently not much had been heard, many felt that they were no longer performing, that is not quite the case, they are indeed patiently developing their brand after being signed to a major label in the states ‘Geffen Records’ (home to Mary J Blige and Wale to name a few) in conjunction with Ne-Yo’s label ‘Compound’.

A favourite of mine, Playground:

check this video out, they go to the Geffen exec to display their ability, amazing:

Seeing all this is great for me, I was just a kid listening to their tracks, watching their videos on TV, I was a fan without a doubt, their ability was so evident, they have personality, talent and the desire to do this.

Well done Geffen records for recognizing the ability and giving them the chance, and Good Luck to the boys, Compound (Ne-Yo’s label) and Da Works, their talent and hard work should ensure a bright future.

Click image to visit their official website

Click image to visit their official website

I did not even know that there was a video for this, another favourite, produced by Music Kidz (Shout out to Shabz & K1)

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Jay-Z – A Star Is Born ft. J. Cole

Taken from Jay-Z’s recent success Blueprint 3, this track stands out for many reasons.

A Star Is Born, produced by Kanye West & NO I.D, is a part dedication to all the successful emcees to have come through, whilst being a statement of Jay’s longevity as an artist, as many of those mentioned have not reached the same amount of consistent success as the Brooklyn legend, however this track is also the official ROC nation introduction of J. Cole

J. Cole is an extremely talented emcee, although names such as Kid Cudi, Drake and Asher Roth are often mentioned as saviours of Hip-Hop, they are talented but J. Cole is pretty much the definition of Hip-Hop, best described as Jay-Z and Nas in one, J. Cole’s ‘the warm-up’ mixtape helped create a stronger foundation for him as an artist, his only negative is that he might be too good for mainstream, but with Jay-Z taking him under his wing he is in the best position, he reminds me of Jay-Z with his clever wordplay and distinctive flow. In a ‘passing the torch’ manner, Jay-Z introduces J. Cole on this track and he does not disappoint, he takes this oppurtunity in both hands, this is a similar position to when Kanye West featured on Blueprint 2, however Kanye’s verse was quite dissapointing and lacked the charisma and metaphors that we hear from him now, so it is quite amazing if you think how much J. Cole will improve, already good enough to go against some of the best, he is one of the sparks in the bright future of Hip-Hop.

Click image to visit his myspace and hear more

Click image to visit his myspace and hear more

The making of the cover for Blueprint 3:

I wonder if Jay has that somewhere in his house?!

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Wiz Khalifa – Get Some

Wiz Khalifa has been extremely consistent with his music, he has not received the same exposure as the likes of Wale and Drake, however, with their success creating intrest in the younger artists, Khalifa’s consistency has kept him prominent and in line to get the respect and acknowledgement that he deserves.

Get Some is a good example of Wiz Khalifa, the beat is diverse, the chorus is more of a dance sound with a pitch-altered sample, whereas the main body of the track is a modern electro meets hip-hop base on which he does not hesitate to get lyrical, but this track is more about feeling than talent so he does hold back.

Wiz Khalifa is who the likes of Bow Wow and Soulja Boy aim to be, somebody who is ‘cool’, accepted by a variety of audiences, You can see the impact he has had on Soulja Boy, I say that because Wiz Khalifa has been around for a while, just underground and I guess with Soulja Boy being a mainstream artist, he is making it acceptable for someone like Wiz to breakthrough.

This track is not the best I have heard, but it is different, something that relates to the artist Wiz Khalifa himself.

A song more representing Khalifa’s presence as an emcee is Dreamer:

Click image to visit his myspace to hear more..

Click image to visit his myspace to hear more..

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Wale – Ice and Rain (Produced by Cool & Dre)

DC’s Wale is undoubtley one for the future, with a lyrical style reminiscent of an illmatic Nas, he found his breakthrough with the success of his hit Nike Boots, currently charting with his new single Chillin ft. Lady Gaga. Wale (pronounced Wa-lay) recently inked a deal with Jay-Z’s ROC Nation label with his debut album ‘Attention Deficit’ to be released soon.

This Cool & Dre produced track is reminiscent to his critically acclaimed Family Affair, consisting of the similarly deep and meaninful story-telling ability that Wale possesses, Ice and Rain is rumoured to be a left-over track from his album’s final cut, hopefully this is not the case as it really is a special track, it has an epic emotion in intwined with the beat, creating a canvas for Wale to paint his lyrical picture, this song could do a lot for Wale, I feel that the topic might not be appreciated by every listener and that becomes a problem, mainstream audiences today prefer to invest in feel-good dance songs, Black Eyed Peas being a testament to that, However with ROC Nation, as Jay-Z attempts to push Hip-Hop back into the mainstream fold, in time could prove beneficial for an artist of Wale’s stature.

Look out for more Wale as he along with Kid Cudi, Drake and Asher Roth, lead the new school Hip-Hop revolution.

Wale - Rhyme spitter, Trend Setter and considered Leader of the New School

Wale - Rhyme spitter, Trend Setter and considered Leader of the New School

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Kid Cudi – Look Up In The Stars ft. Wale

I’m a big fan of both Kid Cudi and DC’s own Wale, so I was excited to hear this and they did not dissapoint.

Look Up In The Stars, produced by Breez (A producer to keep an ear out for), the beat offers that synth-based outer space sound, futuristic and perfect for two diverse artists heralded as the future, the drum pattern reminds me of old neptunes beats, fairly simple in practice but the cleverly executed fusion of drum and keyboard sounds have a big effect, the melody is a spaceship in flight and Kid Cudi and Wale are the passengers. Kid Cudi sings the chorus (with autotune, but pulls it off nicely) and provides a verse, the verse seems standard from Cudi whilst Wale had me remembering Nas, lyrical and a flow to match that just grabs your attention as you listen to every word.

This new wave of artists have a lot to compete against but are fortunate to be allowed to be diverse and free in terms of creativity and concepts, it is refreshing to see and shows you how far Hip-Hop and music in general has come, the likes of 50 cent or Jay-Z would be laughed at if they came out singing talking about stars, Rappers like Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco and Lil’ Wayne have held the door (a door that I believe Pharrell Williams opened) for people like Kid Cudi, Asher Roth and Wale, allowing them to come through and be themselves, be creative and break out of stereotypes that come with a genre.

Look Up In The Stars, although may just end up as a mixtape record, is a good offering from the two bright prospects and I look forward to hearing more like this.

Fáris’ Rating:
7.5/10

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