Let me start this off by focusing on the positives… Wale on his best day is an elite MC who already has debatable classics to his name, most notably his first two albums Attention Deficit & Ambition and the underground mixtape Back to the Feature, in addition to the cult classics Mixtape About Nothing and Album About Nothing that push the Seinfeld envelope in case that’s what you’re in to. Nonetheless despite the catalogue that most artists in his field would die for, Wale throughout the years has evolved into the ultimate enigma, where even though he’s still a relevant artist in the mainstream - he’s guilty of many suspect moves that compromises his overall appeal.
First things first Wale needs to get off the internet… take notes from Cole, Kendrick & even Drake who loves the attention but doesn’t need to look for it, a real artist isn't doing the back & forth on Twitter, a real artist is instead letting his music speak for him and is already working on the next project, and the day Wale figures that out it will create a substantial shift in his career.
Furthermore… in addition to that last point Wale really needs to check himself, as to try to punk DJ Akademiks for social media clout is the sheer definition of pathetic, and that “cool table” diatribe was instead the absolute antithesis of cool in every way. It was at that very moment I might have never seen an artist that was more unlikable (until I saw Vic Mensa try to do the same thing a week later), where perhaps the only saving grace is that Wale prides himself as a WWE fanatic, and in the spirit of Triple H the heel routine does in fact make for must see TV.
Now let’s get back to the music, which at the end of the day is the only thing that matters, and with that in mind Wale just released his 5th solo album entitled Shine - that seems to have both his fans and his haters unsure of his musical direction.
Shine is critiqued track by track below:
“Thank God, I said thank God, I said thank God, we don't do what we used to do no more!” A solid intro record off the album, that to be honest is easily one of the highlights of the entire project, and that’s not saying a lot. Nonetheless this intro is produced by Cool & Dre and has a nice hook from Power actor/musician Rotini, all of which provides a nice framework for Wale to coast on the record with lyrics like “it's too late, all you ***** two-faced, all you'll ever be good at is rollin weed and 2K, or maybe Madden and FIFA, that's why I brag when I see ya, if my bag ain't a bag, at least my integrity straight, wait” <<< and truthfully those are indeed some of the best lyrics on the album...
Running Back ft Lil Wayne
“Bitches want money stacks, I just want my percent, she told me to hit the hole, I used to play running back” good record but produced by Karen Civil? Yea i doubt it… and that’s all I have to say about that.
Scarface Rozay Gotti
“All I want to do is live out my dreams, and fuck what y'all think cause these is my dreams” Produced by Dreamlife & Go Grizzly this is an uplifting record and it’s decent… but honestly again it has no business being one of the best records on the album… yet here we are...
My Love ft Major Lazer, WizKid & Dua Lipa
“Show me my love, oh God, show me sweet love, yeah…” Produced by Major Lazor this one is… a nahhh… but I respect it nonetheless on the strength of the features and the production. The controversy and all the conversation around the record revolves around whether this is a failed attempt at a Drake crossover record, and whether or not if it was a Drake record instead of a Wale record it would have been better received. More than likely the answer is yes, and I suppose it is important to note that Wale is actually of Nigerian descent, therefore what would be considered a crossover record for some could actually be home cookin for others. Yet even still the debate remains on whether or not it’s a GOOD record period… and ultimately I’m still left undecided.
Fashion Week ft G Eazy
“Walk by, on fire, baby, can't douse it, that body bangin, what set that? I walk by again, a little look quick, hol' up, switch, go switch, switch, go switch, switch, go switch (Wale I got you), switch, go switch, my bitch…” As long as you can tolerate G Eazy and his suburban fueled cocaine raps that this one’s decent enough for the video treatment… but even still I could never recommend it.
Columbia Heights (Te Llamo) ft J Balvin
“Te llamo No Bueno, Te llamo No Bueno, Te llamo No Bueno, you know my picture, don't know what I been through” Produced by DJ Don Cannon with a feature from Colombian artist J Balvin, this one is relatively catchy albeit very repetitive and even though I want to say I fux with it… I really have no feelings about it one way or another. Not trash but not fire and not really worth recommending.
“Never knew a love like yours, until I found you, and I done been in trouble before, but nothing like you, never seen a woman so pure, until I found you (pure, uncut, *****), and I done been in love before, but nothing like you (like you, hey yeah)” Produced primarily by Ced Brown of Dreamville and then Big Ghost Ltd for the outro (yeah that Big Ghost who hates on anything J Cole religiously and has previously shown even more WILD disrespect towards Wale in his blogging… but it’s always funny what connections do…) even still Wale only takes an L for once again trying to school DJ Akademiks on why the double entendre in the record is so thought provoking, because otherwise it’s nothing short of a better than decent album cut. Props once more to Ced Brown on the production...
“Keep it 100 with Ross, keep it 100 with Meek, keep me a number to call, hide that shit like the 300 movie” SKIP!!!
Fish N Grits ft Travis Scott
“Never seen a night like this, won't you take a drag, another hit? Whippin up a pot, fish grits, never seen a night like this” Travis Scott must sound good on the Molly and the Percocets because sober his sound is damn near unlistenable. Only a clown would call this music progressive and shoutout Travis Scott once more for contributing to one of the weakest Nas records of all time… Basically I don’t feel this record at all.
Fine Girl ft Davido & Olamide
“Saks Fifth, with a east side ting, rodeo, with a west side ting, bad boy on a worldwide ting, yeah, yeah, don't forget, I'm reppin green white green” Nigerian Hip Hop and it’s not a standout but I’m not mad at this… it’s overall decent and more than anything I appreciate the introduction to the featured artists, both of whom did their numbers on this.
Heaven on Earth ft Chris Brown
“You'd be my heaven on Earth, my love, my forever, my first, I know you're not perfect, but girl, you're still worth it, I swear you're my gift and my curse” Produced by Super Miles this is a decent but typical Chris Brown feature record… and unsurprisingly it doesn’t seem like it will make a real impact.
“You my M-Y-P-Y-T, she my M-Y-P-Y-T, she my M-Y-P-Y-T, she my pretty young thing, and I’ll do anything for her, I want to love you, pretty young thing, you need some loving, from a real one” This was the first official single produced by The Dope Boyz that currently has 40 million views on YouTube so it’s apparently done well… but truth be told this isn’t even 1/10 of good as the legendary song that it samples… when you sample a classic there should be a rule that it should atleast be half as good as the original… yet this one isn’t even close.
“Good dick and advice, I'm 'bout it, good dick and advice, I got you, if you need it in your life, I got that, I might put it in your life, you won't go back” SKIP!!!
Smile ft Phil Ade & Zyla Moon
“The Alt Rights hate us, some black baby mommas hate us, we only learn half of the drama, other side crazy, on behalf of Charlamagne I'm sure he ain't tradin sides, maybe I should meet Tomi Lahren I'll Lauryn Hill her” Salute to Phil Ade the outro is one of the best records on the tape.... even though it’s infectious melody is somewhat more of an annoyance than anything. The type of repetitive annoying record that’s catchy enough to remember it but nothing that you really want to go back to.
Overall it’s not all bad but it’s really nothing to be excited about at all… and just speaking for myself as a Wale fan I was expecting a lot more. Objectively speaking through 14 records Shine plays like a very underwhelming effort, even disregarding it’s lackluster sales that on a commercial level legitimately makes it one of the worst flops of all time. And that’s not hyperbole, that’s actual facts - even though it has its PYT numbers that I’m sure Atlantic would rather talk about.
Ultimately it’s really the music that left a lot to be desired, as from an artist who debatably had the best rap album of 2011 (over Cole’s Sideline Story, Drake’s Take Care, Kendrick’s Section.80 & Sean’s Finally Famous) it’s honestly sad to see how far he’s fallen, exemplified by his antics towards DJ Akademiks at Complex which without question is one of the most epic fails of the year.