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4.0 out of 5 stars Wale critiques his newfound fame on "The Gifted", July 8, 2013
This review is from: Gifted (Audio CD)
It seemed like Wale was destined for stardom early in his career due to the successes of his mixtapes. The trouble was getting his career off the ground- which initially had a rocky start. He received a million dollar deal to sign with Interscope Records by way of producer Mark Ronson. While it seemed like a good idea in theory, things went south when Interscope tried to make Wale into a commercially accessible star- something he had no interest in doing. When his debut "Attention Deficit" was released in 2009, the album was forgotten as quickly as it was released. In 2010, he was trying to figure out his next move with his career when he approached by Rick Ross- who wanted him to join the roster at his label Maybach Music Group. It seemed like a questionable move to many, but things turned out better for him. 2011 saw the release of his sophomore album "Ambition"- his first under Maybach Music- where he recived a Gold certification from the RIAA. He was also lauded for the work and production values put into his album. For all his achievements, he still had his detractors who were displeased with his move to Maybach Music Group, as they felt he changed a great deal.

In 2013, he released his third album "The Gifted". He reunites with producers Tone P and No Credit, but also gets help from Hitmen producers Sean C & LV (Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah), Just Blaze and on several songs, Mint Condition lead singer Stokley Williams. The album's musical focus is on live instrumentation, but lyrically Wale sounds disappointed with the criticism involved with his label choices. Look no further than the song "The Curse Of The Gifted" and the first single "LoveHate Thing", where he responds to his critics. He takes an optimistic approach to life on "Sunshine", while linking up with labelmate Meek Mill on "Heaven's Afternoon". On the song "Golden Salvation (Jesus Piece)", he speaks from the point of view of God in reference to people who praise him only when it's convenient. The track "Vanity" shows Wale exploring the subject of narcissism, while addressing the manipulation of the media on the Cee-Lo Green featured "Gullible". There are two versions of the song "Bad"- the original with Tiara Thomas which originally appeared on the mixtape "Folarin" and a remix with pop singer Rihanna. There are a few missteps on here, such as the out of place song about strippers "Clappers" with Juicy J and Nicki Minaj and the Rick Ross and Ne-Yo featured "Tired Of Running". The album begins to run out of steam towards the end but despite that, "The Gifted" is a listenable record. Wale may not be too excited about the fame, it shows that he's still excited about the music.
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