I recognise that the timing of this post may be misconstrued since we are already on our way to a refreshing spring and summer, however, I could not possibly let my two cents about two of my current favourite artists simply gather dust in the back of my closet as some of my coats and jackets soon will be.
I took the liberty to listen to the much anticipated Born Sinner and The Gifted this vacation and was not left by any means disappointed. In some respect, I think the Hip-hop Gods heard my pleas for something great to listen to. As my birthday came and passed, the only thought that seemed to really freak me out was, what will I listen to as I (keep) getting older given the bubble-gum pop-like state hip-hop and rap seem to be taking. Thanks be to Wale and Mr. Cole for two albums that were both a gift and kept this born sinner pretty warm over the winter months.
The Gifted is Wale’s third studio album released under Rozay’s Maybach Music Group & Atlantic Records. Now I have to say, being the Stan that I am, I’ve followed Wale’s music pretty closely and noticed the change (as I’m sure most fans did) when he was signed to this label. That’s not to say Ambition wasn’t good, in fact, it went in pretty hard, but it wasn’t the Wale I had grown to love. You can imagine my joy when the release of The Gifted noted a return to the Wale we knew and loved from before.
It was evident, in the claps and kicks that are synonymous with the go-go style DMV rap that an old friend had come back to visit.
My favourite tracks were LoveHate Thing ft Sam Dew, Heavens Afternoon ft. Meek Mill, Vanity, Gullible ft. Ceelo Green and of course Bad ft. Tiara Thomas. I liked the mood set by The Curse of The Gifted and Sunshine because they made me reminisce on the first few times I listened to Mr Folarin and how amazed I was at the punchlines and ease of flow that came from this dreadlocked Nigermerican. The club banger Clappers ft. Nicki Minaj also had me in applause.
I didn’t really care for the remix of Bad with Rihanna, simply because I felt it was unnecessary though I guess the change up on the track was nice. I kind of liked the bedroom tune Tired of Dreaming with Ne-yo though I thought it didn’t have quite the appeal of White Line, Lotus Flower Bomb or even That Way from Ambition. There are a few hidden surprises in this album ranging from both Wale’s spitting and the various things producers did on the tracks from sampling (my favourite sample is on Vanity) to a couple of adlibs.
Overall I give the album a 7.5 because truthfully it was a return from an old Wale, but with clear growth in his rhymes and the production.
Give it a listen and tell me what you thought.
Now I did mention there were two great albums that got me through winter, but I feel like this gift is enough for now. Look out for my review on Born Sinner coming soon. Until then, enjoy listening to my wake-up song Vanity below.