Wale‘s debut album, Attention Deficit was weird. The album produced a string of successful singles: “Chillin,” “World Tour,” and “Pretty Girls” yet it did so poorly that Wale was dropped from his deal with Interscope. Two years later, Wale returns with a new record (Ambition) on a new label (Rick Ross‘ Maybach Music Group).
Critics lambasted Wale as a corporate puppet after Attention Deficit, saying that he sold out his excellent mixtape work to produce an album that was major label acceptable. Ambition lands somewhere in between Attention Deficit and his early mixtape work.
“Legendary” finds Wale working with DJ Toomp. Instead of producing a sure fire hit beat like he did with Kanye‘s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” or T.I.‘s “What You Know”, “Legendary” has a stripped down hip hop beat that allows Wale to address his critics. He raps “Roll a nigga that lala/that’s how I play the mello/niggas plotting against you/hate you but never tell you.”
But while Wale breaks out on “Legendary,” he still is working for a label. He gets suckered into a Miami homage in “Miami Nights.” “Miami Nights” feels like update version of Will Smith‘s 1998 single but the addition of Rick Ross’ filler gives it a little more clout.
Ambition feels a little more “Wale” than Attention Deficit. While not ever track is a winner, there is no doubt that critics will have to give Wale his due at a more successful sophomore release. Even if the critics do not, the album is project to move 200k in its first week making for a hot November.