(Note: I didn’t mention certain mixtapes for a reason: because I didn’t want to. Bear with me as I get this important message across. Please enjoy.)
Greetings! My name is Mark A. Harris. Around the blogs and my small section in Twitter Land, I am known as Darcwonn1906. I have been a fan of your work since you rhymed about “Nike Boots” without directly talking about the shoes. I have also been around when you didn’t make the mark that you wanted to make on the industry. In fact, I am going to break down my perspective on your career thus far.
For me, it all started when I heard “Nike Boots”. From that point on, nothing but the positive seemed to happen. Mixtape About Nothing made you a notable emcee to be watched. Features in both XXL (Freshman 2009) and on the Roots track “Rising Up” notched you as one to watch for in the future. Once you got to perform “W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E.”, I understood that you had the “it” factor. It was all evolving into a set up for Attention Deficit. The only problem is that Attention Deficit was an album reeking of poetic justice. There was a definite deficit in the attention paid to it by listeners, so many people did not buy the album.
That didn’t dissuade you, though. You kept going hard. More About Nothing garnered more acclaim and let go the Roscoe Dash/Waka Flaka Flame featured “No Hands”. All of this hard work led to your signing with Maybach Music Group, a far cry from your Mark Ronson-affiliated Allido signing years prior. Nimble lyrics, dope concepts, and impressive subject matter awaited our ears. Adding Rick Ross’s blessing only made things seem that much bigger.
Then Ambition dropped.
While it did move some units, it lacked the sheer connection and catchiness that many had hoped for. It is true that “Lotus Flower Bomb” was a formidable single due to Wale’s ability to make songs that attract the female hip hop fan. I won’t say that the album was “garbage”; that would actually be untrue. However, I can say that it lacked the edge and feeling of honesty that you had established on your mixtapes. In short, Ambition just wasn’t ambitious enough.
Still undeterred, you kept it moving. The next project was to “right all of the wrongs” that had happened with the first couple of albums. It would also make sure that your music didn’t sound like Rick Ross was on the boards the entire time. The even bigger stigma to shake was the dreaded “mixtape rapper that can’t make a good album” association that you were beginning to carry. Plus, the Tiara Thomas featured “Bad” was blazing the airways. With all of these things working in your favor, The Gifted was going to be the gift that kept giving to your career. But The Gifted bore no gifts that anyone could find totally captivating. Yes, you have some hot singles. Yes, you stay getting money. Yes, you are on of the more productive hip hop labels at the present moment. So, you have a lot working for you as an artist.
All of this leads into why I am writing you in the first place. When Complex dropped their 50 Best Albums of 2013, you noticed that your album wasn’t on there. Never mind the fact that A$AP Ferg was number 8 (ahead of albums much better). Never mind the fact that the worst album to be made in years (Yeezus) was number one. Forget the fact that it was a collection of music across genres. What mattered to you was that YOUR album didn’t appear on a filtered list of greatness, question marks, and album choices made for the courtesy of jock strap riding.
But here is the bigger issue: your album just wasn’t that hot. It would be different if your music was years ahead of the artists listed on here. It would have made a bigger difference if it was a list of mainly hip hop albums. But, those two previous issues rendered your argument null and void. You are too busy being worried about making a list that may not have been for you to place on. It isn’t a hip hop list, so why even get into the threats?
What makes things worse is that you wanted to be worried about placing on a list in the first place. As an artist, you should want recognition. However, which recognition is more important: the adoration of magazines or the support of your fans? You would rather bark at a publication that owes you NO explanation on a list that is HIGHLY opinionated? That makes no sense.
I’ll just chalk this up to you being overemotional and unnecessary belligerent. Then again, I think that is the shtick with too many emcees nowadays: gripe about your greatness without actually PROVING it. You want Complex to honor your projects? Fine. Make an album that is hard to disregard or ignore. From my view, you still haven’t made an album that is topping your mixtape catalogue. How complex is that?
Peace to you and yours,
A Wale fan
The opinions and views expressed here are the opinions of the designated author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or views of any of the individual members of Dead End Hip Hop.