Wale – Ambition: Album Review

November 8, 2011 § 3 Comments

Recently appointed Maybach Music Group (MMG) member Wale released his sophomore album Ambition on November 1st. I’m not a Wale fan so I wasn’t going to do a review on this album. But after listening to the record in full, I changed my mind. Wale’s debut effort, Attention Deficit, was a jumble of too many sounds and influences that did not mesh together. Yet the DC-bred rapper pulled himself together to create one of the strongest rap albums of the year.

“Don’t Hold Your Applause”  is a great entrance to the record; the marching band-inspired beats draws the listener in immediately. The track shows that Wale demands respect and praise in the rap game. Real instruments make a grand comeback on this album, which is beautifully highlighted in “Miami Nights.” It borrows the luxe saxophone sounds that were made famous by labelmate Rick Ross’ Teflon Don, creating a rich and elegant sound that pairs well with the lyrics:

If I can get my money right, I’m about to OD. Little more weed, 1st class seats. 1st class hoes; we on South Beach.

“Lotus Flower Bomb” , the most talked about single off the album, is very seductive and sensual. Wale definitely made this slow-tempo track solely for the ladies aka “Ambitious Girls”. The smooth cameo from R&B crooner Miguel tops it off perfectly. Ambition then shifts its tone with the braggadocio track, “Chain Music”, whose beat makes you wanna bounce. It’s a track for the ballers and shot callers: “Chain so big, can’t pop my collar!”

Yet the record falls off its rails a bit with “Focused.” The futuristic beat caught me way off guard, but then I saw Kid Cudi’s name as the feature artist and it all made sense. It doesn’t sit well with the other tracks; it should have been left for Attention Deficit. But “Slight Work” picks up the energy. I love the bubbly beat; the synths and siren samples are a nice diversion from the heavy and sometimes overwhelming instrumentals of the other tracks. With the combination of Diplo’s production and Big Sean’s club-ready verse, “Slight Work” may become a sleeper banger.

The title track “Ambition” is the strongest on the record. The moody track is slowed down to make the listener clearly hear the stories of Wale and fellow MMG members Rick Ross and Meek Mill. The rappers speak about their come-up and how they’re ready to reach the top due to their never-ending “Ambition”. The track should have closed the record, yet it is followed by “DC or Nothing”, a hometown anthem and ode to DC. Wale doesn’t let the listener forget where he came from. The electric guitar riffs and gospel-inspired vocals amplify the realness of the record.

After listening to Wale’s music since his musical debut, I couldn’t get into it. But I gave Ambition a chance, and I’m glad I did. The sophisticated production and mature yet fun lyrics are mastered in this record. Wale can finally say that he has secured his position in the rap game.

Overall Rating: 4/5

 Songs on Repeat

“Legendary”

“White Linen (Coolin’)” feat. Ne-Yo

“Slight Work”

“Ambition”

Songs to Skip

“Sabotage”

“No Days Off”

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