Wale's 7 Studio Albums, Ranked

BYWyatt Westlake2.6K Views
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2021 AfroPunk Atlanta
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 26: Rapper Wale performs onstage during day 2 of 2021 AfroPunk Atlanta at Atlantic Station Pinnacle on September 26, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

Over a decade into his fruitful career, Wale has been quite consistent.

Wale season is approaching. The D.C. rapper has been teasing some new music on social media. “My silence has been golden… see you on Friday. Folarin back,” he cryptically captioned an Instagram post. With a single likely releasing this weekend, it is a safe bet that a new Wale album is on the horizon. His last full-length release was 2021’s Folarin II, and over a decade into his fruitful career, Wale has been quite constant. When it comes to his extensive discography, ranking his albums can be a challenge. As a result of his consistency, we can count on his upcoming eighth studio album to be of a high caliber. Today, we are ranking Wale’s seven studio albums from worst to best. Take a look at the list below.

7. Shine (2017)

Shine is arguably Wale’s only misstep in the span of his career. Before releasing his fifth album, he had successfully crossed over into mainstream audiences with pop records. Shine, however, was overwhelmingly pop-heavy and radio-friendly. It lacked the lyrical and creative substance of his greatest works, but Wale’s will to experiment is commendable. He had the foresight to tackle Afro-fusion and Latin pop by collaborating with the likes of Wizkid, Davido, and J Balvin before they became global superstars. It certainly was a bold artistic move, but Shine does not compare to the quality of Wale’s other albums. 

6. Folarin II (2021)

Wale’s most recent album, 2021’s Folarin II, included plenty of highlights and variety throughout its tracklist. The sequel to his 2012 Folarin mixtape was an exciting release for fans as it gave them a bit of everything they love from Wale. His seventh album added to his legacy with a batch of catchy singles and lyrically potent deep cuts. What places Folarin II down toward the bottom of the list is that it is a very top-heavy album that starts to decline in quality partway through. It also occasionally relies heavily on its samples of famous records. An enjoyable listen, Folarin II sitting near the bottom of Wale’s discography speaks volumes about the high caliber of his studio albums.

5. Wow... That's Crazy (2019)

Following Shine, Wow… That’s Crazy was a return to form for Wale. He combined the most compelling elements of his earliest works with a new perspective as a legend in the game. An adventurous album, Wow… That’s Crazy is quite eclectic. He jumps from pro-Black anthems like “Sue Me” to the tropical flavors of “Love & Loyalty.” We saw a contemplative Wale on tracks like “Cliché” and “Love Me Nina/Semiautomatic.” He also reunited with his MMG partners  Rick Ross and Meek Mill on “Routine,” as well as frequent collaborator Jeremih for “On Chill.” The features from Pink Sweats, Jacquees, and Megan Thee Stallion also embraced the next generation of hip hop and R&B. On Wow… That’s Crazy, Wale explored new musical territory while also sticking to his signature sound, marking a new phase in his career.

4. Attention Deficit (2009)

With a host of notable producers and features, Wale’s debut album appealed to mainstream audiences while showcasing his signature style. Attention Deficit consists of some of his best and most quirky material. It includes the D.C. go-go influence of his early mixtapes, but is more polished thanks to production from Mark Ronson, The Neptunes, Cool & Dre, and more. Standout tracks like “Pretty Girls,” “World Tour,” and “Beautiful Bliss” displayed Wale’s versatility throughout the album. Some of the production on Attention Deficit is quite dated compared to some of his other early albums. Songs like “TV In The Radio” and “Chillin” demonstrate that the album was certainly a product of its time. While it sits comfortably at No. 4 on this list, Attention Deficit is still a memorable album in Wale’s discography.

3. The Gifted (2013)

The Gifted is Wale’s most soulful album, filled with heartfelt moments from the DC native and the many guest vocalists. Wale and gospel samples are an unbeatable combination, fully exhibited on this album. The Gifted encompasses various styles and emotions, from the passionate “LoveHate Thing” to the strip club-ready “Clappers.” It features both versions of Wale’s biggest hit single, “Bad,” bringing two completely different energies to the tracklist with the same song. Arguably Wale’s best-produced album, The Gifted strikes a balance between appealing to mainstream audiences and profound moments where his lyricism shines.  

2. Ambition (2011)

After Attention Deficit, Wale took his musicality to new heights on his first offering for MMG. Ambition contains some of his most iconic and highest-charting tracks. The title is quite accurate as he ambitiously transitioned away from the sound of his mixtapes. An incredibly varied album, Wale left no stone unturned when it came to putting together a career-defining album. Ambition spoke to the hip hop heads with the bar-heavy “Legendary,” the masses with the braggadocious “Chain Music,” and his hometown with “DC or Nothing.” One of Wale’s strongest skill sets as a rapper is his ability to craft quality love songs, which he did on “Lotus Flower Bomb” and “That Way.” Twelve years after its release, Ambition still leaves an everlasting impression as one of Wale’s best works.

1. The Album About Nothing (2015)

The Album About Nothing is a culmination of mixtape and album Wale, resulting in a project combining the best of both worlds. It takes fans back to his classic Mixtape About Nothing series while also pushing his career forward with the polished sound of his albums. Inspired by his love for Seinfeld, Wale’s third studio album follows a loose concept with songs that each have their own unique direction. He is both vulnerable in his own emotions while also providing multiple perspectives in his lyrics. There are soulful highlights like “The Bloom,” moments of reflection like “The Success,” and spiritual contemplation on “The God Smile.” "The Matrimony” is another special moment on the album as it explores the possibilities of a future with a love interest. The Album About Nothing is undoubtedly Wale’s best album with its songwriting, concepts, and cohesive direction.

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About The Author
Wyatt Westlake is a writer from Somerville, MA. He has been writing about hip hop, RnB, and beyond for almost a decade, joining the HNHH team in 2023. Majoring in Communication Studies, he is currently finishing his BA at Temple University. Wyatt is also a radio presenter, hosting his own shows and curating eclectic playlists since 2019. An avid concert-goer, one all-time moment for him was when Dave brought him onstage to perform “Thiago Silva” in front of a sold-out crowd.
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