The Score: Wale, "Ambition"

Tuesday, Nov 1, 2011 5:05AM

Written by J. Bachelor

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The Wacky Delly 3/5
Hip Hop for Breakfast 2/5
Jazzi 7.1/10
Slant Magazine 3/5
Paccione Post 4/5

Maybach Music Group's Wale shares his Ambition with the world today, as the D.C. MC releases the follow-up to the 2009 LP, Attention Deficit, today.

This is Wale's first release under Rick Ross'  ever-expanding MMG imprint, which also includes rappers Pill, Meek Mill and group Triple C's.

With a slew of mixtapes, Wale built a reputation as a witty rapper who delivered quick punch lines. His skills eventually landed him a major-label deal and debut album, "Attention Deficit," two years ago. But while his first record received favorable reviews, Wale says he felt artistically stifled under Mark Ronson's Allido Records, a partnership with Interscope Records. So the rapper parted ways with the label and found a new home with Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group, and so far, the marriage seems to be a perfect fit, as shown with his sophomore album, "Ambition." (The San Francisco Gate)

Ambition not only features the MMG crew, but a slew of young stars including Big Sean, Lloyd and Kid CuDi.

The features were good and fit well from Kid CuDi, Lloyd, NeYo, Big Sean and a few others but I wanted there to be more features. Overall I will say this album was decent, being on the generous side, Wale is known for making mixtapes with album concepts like Back To The Feature, The Mixtape About Nothing and More About Nothing mixtapes so it disappointed me that his album was more like a mixtape with a bunch of songs just put together.(The Wacky Delly)

The album's production includes the flash-and-bang sound Rozay has made wildly popular, as well as the mellow records that fans have come to expect from Wale.

Ross's eclectically curated posse isn't an obvious fit for a rapper as strident as Wale, and though the label found him a strong, if solidly B-list, cast of collaborators, far too little about Ambition, particularly in terms of production, plays to its star's strengths. The tempos aren't fast enough to goad Wale into the type of quick-fire spitting at which he truly excels, nor are they melodic enough to compensate for the rapper's inability to deliver a hook. Lloyd's chorus on "Sabotage" is easily the most immediately engaging portion of the album (it's actually quite a lot better than most of the material on his own overpraised King of Hearts), but the brunt of Ambition is as forgettable as big-budget rap gets.(Slant Magazine)

Earlier this year, while on the heels of releasing the album's single, Wale questioned whether it was fair of his to compare Ambition to the now classic LP, Reasonable Doubt.

"None of us have been able to create a critically-acclaimed album so to speak," Wale said in an interview. "That was my goal to try to do that. I ain't really into selling because I'm doing pretty good. I got records on the radio for the first time in my career. I'm just trying to make a classic album, something that you can put up there with [Jay-Z's 1996 debut] Reasonable Doubt and all the stuff that's blasphemous to compare your work to now. Why can't I say my album is just as good as Reasonable Doubt or I'm trying to beat Reasonable Doubt? That sh*t is blasphemous to say." (XXL Mag)

Critics agree that while Ambition fails the reach to achieve the level of replay value one may expect from a spitter such as Wale, his infectious flow and top notch production make it a disc worth checking out for any fan of the DC rhymer.

The album could have been much worse with the move to Maybach music. I was worried about the sound being totally different, but Wale managed to evolve sonically however, in the area of song creativity there is a step back. Too many of the songs are the same way when it comes to women and relationships and he talks too much about his weed habits. He just throws it in there lazily to take up space. While "Lotus Flower Bomb" and "DC or Nothing" represent so much of what is powerful about Wale he gets weighed down with pseudo-smooth songs like "Cool Linen" where is flow doesn't quite fit the style.(As Is Hip Hop)
Overall, if you got "More About Nothing" "Attention Deficit" and "Theory 11-1-11" you don't need this album. All you're going to do is shelf it in a month or two and go back to playing those three records. This album so forgettable I couldn't even go detail track by track on this review. I feel Wale is far greater than this album but maybe I'm just over ranking him but only time will tell. He felt to leave his label, and he states on "Legendary" he doesn't want fame but credibility but in that case, why join Rick Ross? He has that Lil Wayne star power, whatever he supports, his fans will too, so your credibility is going to be taken for granted. Mainstream is going to eat this album up and he's knows it, which is why I feel he's contradicting himself. 'Ambition' is Wale's "Curtis" or "Kingdom Come," it's decent, but when you compare it to his best work, it's trash. Wale has feel into the sophomore slump hard. I honesty don't like the direction Wale is taking his music creativity because he's losing his creativity and that sound that made him standout from the copy, paste mainstream artist. Hopefully it's just the sophomore jinx, and he'll come back harder on his third album. Last thing we need is another rapper, where his fans say his just a shell of what he once was and they miss the "Old" Wale. [sic] (Hip Hop for Breakfast)

To preview/purchase Ambition, just click here.

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