Today: Jul 17, 2024

Music Review: Wale — Ambition

 JON MORENOArts & Entertainment Editor

 1. “Don’t Hold Your Applause” – Wale gets straight to business on the opening track of his sophomore album. No fancy, drawn-out piano intros, just the well-known Maybach Music tag. Tone P is the man responsible for the production and it impresses. Good start. 3/5 Owls.

2. “Double M Genius” – So far, Wale is keeping it traditional hip-hop with soulful samples and a hard delivery over some great sounding drums. Wale took some notes and learned from his mistakes in the past. He at times had a lazy flow and sometimes was difficult to really understand. Wale is in your face throughout the whole track and he sounds ready to make his mark in this rap game. 3/5 Owls.

3. “Miami Nights” – More soul and more Maybach Music tags. Nothing wrong with that, though. It’s clear Wale is a fan of live instruments in his songs. His shows will sound great with a band. 3/5 Owls.

4. “Legendary” – This is that window down, cruising down your block with the system blaring music. DJ Toomp delivers a head knocking instrumental as Wale just spazzes out. “I’m known to spit December in June” says the Maybach Music signee. 4/5 Owls.

5. “Lotus Flower Bomb” (feat. Miguel) – Wale slows down the tempo in a cut strictly for the ladies. Wale’s ear for beats has definitely improved. It has to be Rick Ross guidance that is responsible for that. Ross has the best ear for beats in the industry so it only makes sense. Miguel sounds fantastic in this. 4/5 Owls.

6. “Chain Music” – This beat switches things up a bit. No more live instruments. This is 2011 hip-hop music. Hard drums and deep 808s. This is what has become what hip-hop heads call trap music. 2/5 Owls.

7. “Focused” (feat. Kid Cudi) – These two ruffled each other’s feathers earlier this year but it is good to see these two put their differences aside to make good music. Cudi’s vocals are, well, typical Cudi. A Cudi verse here would’ve been epic but the hook he provides still gets the job done. 3/5 Owls.

8. “Sabotage” (feat. Lloyd) – Wale is on a quest to increase his female fan base. This one is similar to his cut with Miguel. However, it falls short of being just as good. 2/5 Owls.

9. “White Linen” (feat. Ne-Yo) – This one isn’t for everybody. Despite the jumbled up features that are ensuing right now, Wale is doing his best to remind listeners it’s his album. But I am not convinced. His features are outshining him at this point. Big Sean is on the next track, let’s see how he holds up when someone else is actually rapping on a song besides him. 2/5 Owls.

10. “Slight Work” (feat. Big Sean) – The beat has a cartoonish feel to it, which is perfect for Big Sean’s style. Wale is holding his own though as he rides the catchy instrumental flawlessly. This one is perfect for house parties. Big Sean murders the beat, though. Once again, the feature outshines him despite Wale’s strongest effort. 3/5 Owls.

11. “Ambition” (feat. Meek Mill & Rick Ross) – The Maybach Music group unites for one of the strongest cuts on the album. Meek Mill comes through, Rick Ross also does as always, and Wale reinforces that this crew is one that is going to stay in the music industry for a long time to come. Wale comes correct with the best verse on the song. 4/5 Owls.

12. “Illest Bitch” – Tha Bizness provides Wale with a production that complements his style well. Soulful but still modern. Looks like Wale is serving the fans with the album they always wanted. 3/5 Owls.

13. “No Days Off” – Wale gets boring here on lazy production. First less-than-good song on the album. 1/5 Owls.

14. “DC or Nothing” (feat. Sam Dew) – Wale shows his poetic side on this track dedicated to his hometown of Washington, D.C. The song is nothing short of epic. Hard guitar riffs, melodic pianos, and a choir adlibbing during Wale’s verses make for a very strong cut. 4/5 Owls.

15. “That Way” (feat. Jeremih & Rick Ross) – This song is nothing short of smooth. Lex Luger shows off his versatility with this beat. Luger started building a reputation for repetitive instrumentals but not here. Jeremih couldn’t sound better. Wale and Rick Ross are merely accessories as Jeremih is the true jewel of this track. 4/5 Owls.

Overall: 3 out of 5 Owls

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