Daily $wagg grades reviews based upon the Grade Point Average scale. Identical to the system used by most schools to measure academic excellence, Daily $wagg grades an album track-by-track on a scale of 0-4 (F-A) then adds them and divides by the number of total tracks leaving an overall average somewhere from 0-4. Albums will also receive grades for Lyrical Preformance (flow, voice, etc.), Lyrical Content (what they rap about), and Production (beats, instrumentals, etc.).
On November 1st, Wale dropped his Maybach Music Group solo debut with Ambition. The 27-year old emcee has had a fairly strong showing with his first effort, Attention Defficit, roughly 2 years ago which was generally well received but failed to sell. The once Roc Nation rapper, now with Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group, was able to achieve a far better performance chart-wise and commercially with his second album reaching #2 on the Billboard 100, selling nearly 300,000 copies to date with more than half of them sold in the 1st week. Wale’s slowly rising star as well as appearances on songs like “No Hands” by Waka Flocka Flame has set the stage for Wale’s second official LP.
After about 3 listens and a track-by-track rating on the GPA scale, Wale’s second album earned a 2.89. This is one of the few albums with an expectantly low rating that has surprised me when all was said and done. However, Wale’s lyrical genius shines throughout the entire album despite shaky production on second half of the album with songs like “DC or Nothing” and “No Days Off” radiating a corny generic vibe. None the less, Wale’s lyrical performance and wisely positioned guest appearances deserve recognition leaving us with great collaborations such as Neyo on “White Linen (Coolin’)”, Big Sean on “Slight Work”, Meek Mill and Rick Ross on “Ambition”, and Lloyd on “Sabotage”. Though the Kid Cudi feature on “Focus” and both of Rick Ross’s verses on the album felt like misses, Wale managed to find the perfect type of track with the perfect mood for each artist he welcomed as a guest star. As far as Wale’s lyrical content, the capital city bred rapper didn’t stray very far from the typical topics of women, money, and a lavish lifestyle such as songs like (the very melodic) “Miami Nights”. However, Wale did display his knack for lyricism (particularly on very melodic beats) with lines like “this is anti-Mark McGwire/it takes patience for power” on “Legendary”, earning him a perfect 4 in the lyrical performance portion of this review. The production was extremely solid within the first half of the album but withered on the final third of the tracks. Overall, it would be considered unfair to hold Wale accountable for the album’s downfalls as most of the problems with the album cannot be attributed or affiliated with his performance. With all this being said, it is certain that Wale can make his case for the best lyricist on the Maybach label as well as the best rapper on the Maybach imprint (even over the big boss).