The Gifted (2013)
After stringing together some radio friendly hits on Ambition, Wale decided to keep the momentum going with the release of “Bad.” “Bad” was originally on his mixtape Folarin and later segued over to his album as his leading single. Because of its overwhelming success on Billboard, “Bad” received the remix treatment with Rihanna serving as his guest appearance. After his core fan-base displayed their disdain for his newly developed sound under the tutelage of MMG, Wale wanted to showcase more “range” on his album, The Gifted. In doing so, Wale forged a well-put together album. His prodigious rhymes and knack for storytelling still were all intact, despite a couple of lapses here and there. With The Gifted, Wale showed that he can make something for everybody to enjoy. While he should be applauded for his efforts, Wale still wasn’t giving us the real him wholeheartedly like he did on his first album. Yes, he notched another top-selling album, but something was lacking. In the eyes of hip-hop purists, he still didn’t have that one project which really wowed us. Tracks like “Golden Salvation,” “Black Heroes,” and “Simple Man,” were shades of the Wale that fans wanted. But then, he had “Clappers,” which left us completely puzzled. With The Gifted, Wale was grappling with wanting to be a commercial act and wanting to be a hip-hop artist.