I have been less than ecstatic about his output that's been leaked for his album and this seemed directly tied to his obvious desires for a crossover smash (and thus far, his inability to write one). Enough blood has been spilled over the transcendent offense to the aural canals that is "Chillin", so there is no need to re-hash but the other material that has been released for the album have failed to capture my imagination as well. "Pretty Girls" was cool but it didn't help that it couldn't catch on despite that it featured the presence of every ig'nant rap fan's favorite manslaughter defendant, Gucci Mane. "World Tour" was slyly catchy but it was too derivative of a far greater Tribe Called Quest song for it to be considered a success. Meanwhile, "Let It Go (Inhibitions)" and "Contemplate", two high profile collaborations with famous artists (in this case, the Corpse Of Pharrell Williams and Rihanna) were the basic definition of album filler. It seemed the farther he strayed from his D.C. go-go influences into crossover territory the more flaccid the material became.
Today's leak du jour, "Mirrors," takes the opposite approach to the pop market pandering of "Attention: Deficit's" earlier leaks and not surprisingly, it's one of the more successful songs released from the album thus far. However, it still isn't quite the show-stopping monsters that "Back In The Go-Go" and "Nike Boots" were last year. "Mirrors" draws heavily from Mark Ronson's shockingly gutter production (who knew the Trust Fund King Of Hip Hop had these types of beats in him?) and Wale manages to acquit himself very nicely with a showy, stuterring cadence that proves he can ride a beat as well as anybody. Problem is that he's getting his shine seriously blocked by Bun B's killer sixteen (he tends to do that to even the best of rappers) and ultimately, Bun seems to make Wale seem like an afterthought on his own song. Wale has a lot of strengths as a writer (witty pop culture driven punchlines, an ability to write an issue driven song that doesn't come across as condescending, etc.) but going head-to-head against rappers of Bun's caliber is a recipe for looking foolish. He's much better at letting himself give space to muse on the song at hand than attempting to compete with other rappers for song dominance. He's just not that type of rapper. He's way better at working at a concept song and digging into the intricacies than anything else. It's definitively why "The Mixtape About Nothing" and "100 Miles & Running"(two mostly featureless records) are better than "Back To The Feature."
I'm not in FULL-ON PANIC MODE about "Attention: Deficit" because other than "Chillin", the songs have been simply unspectacular rather out right awful but I'm certainly worried that the record could be an assured disappointment. After all, I have spent quite the amount of time talking Wale up as if he's the future of hip hop. I wouldn't want to be wrong, now wouldn't I? I have a reputation to protect.
- Wale and Ronson have had great chemistry ever since the initial "100 Miles & Running" mixtape two years ago. Wale should really considering working exclusively with Ronson and Best Kept Secret on all future products. They bring the best out of each other.
- This record is certainly not approaching a hit record (and I'm sure Tray is going to come wandering around to discuss some nonsense) but this is the type of stuff that Wale should be rhyming over for here on out.
- I only link to other blog's to provide zshare links because Interscope has a nasty habit of shutting your whole blog down if you deign to link to their material. Obviously, I'm interested in maintaining an accurate archive of my material. Mostly so commenters can bring up some hyperbolic comment about Saigon two years after the fact to flaunt that I once had something slightly positive to say about a rapper that he doesn't like. Consider this the trade-off, folks.
Download: Wale [Feat. Bun-B] - Mirrors [Via Nah Right]