Is it me or has Wale really out shined a lot of Rap artist by keeping real lyrical content with meaning in all his music? For me, Wale deserves 5 stars and joins the ranks of OutKast, Common, Nas, Lupe Fiasco, Jay Z and many more, for keeping his lyrical flow moving, thought-provoking and current with today’s hottest beats on all his tracks. Follow me as I dissect the lyrics to the latest release from his much-anticipated 3rd album “The Gifted” which has already climbed up the charts with the hit “Bad” featuring Tiara Thomas.
Refreshingly enough this is not another rap song about money, sex or cars in the bold & blatant fashion that we’ve become accustom too hearing on the radio. Wale drops lyrics about his past, present & future in a way that makes you think about every word, acronym and its meaning.
In the 1st verse, Wale speaks of “studying at UDC” which stands for the University of District of Columbia; a community college in Washington DC. I didn’t find any record of Wale attending the school but I’m sure he knows some guy who attends or went there in the past. Guess Wale was right when he said “You gon’ need more than Wikipedia to get to me” cause according to Wikipedia Wale attended Robert Morris University and Virginia State University on football scholarships, then transferred to Bowie State University.
Next Wale drops more acronyms about his past. “PG to Mo County bet they all know ’bout me” speaks about counties that Wale grew up around; Prince George & Montgomery counties in D.C.
In Wale’s line “Having dinner with Leonsis I’m dreaming to own” drops the hint that he is a loyal fan to his hometown basketball team the Washington Wizards own my Ted Leonsis and it also hints at his ambition to branch out into the business world of franchise ownership some day. Looks like Wale might be on your heels Jay Z.
All obvious dissection aside, the heart of the songs speaks of Wale’s disappointment in the “Love you Hate you” attitude that comes with success and fame. Lines like “Ain’t no love in the heart of the city is what they tell me” and “Listen when you get the keys it’s seldom you don’t get the beef” speaks about the fact that with fame comes friends and foes. One minute everyone is happy that you’re at the top then the next minute they’re trying to pull you down. The most profound verse in the hit to me is “I lost a lot of friends and none of them dead. When I was on my way up, why you ain’t see the stairs” which speaks of the jealousy from people in his past and that may have that “help a brotha out” attitude now that Wale is famous. Then the line “How could you blame us envy? We do the same thing for a living” speaks of the present envy he deals with from rappers in the industry today that want to beef or pull Wale down just so they can come up.
I must admit that I did not follow Wale’s mix tape era but it seems that he has been consistent with his lyrical content from day one. I honestly thought he would get pulled into the “record label money-making formula” like most artist do when they join a major record label, but Wale has stuck to his guns on having creative control over what he writes and what’s released. This determination brought Wale to Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group in 2011 and he’s been dropping hits every since.
Lyrics from the heart have always been hit makers but the industry has a formula too; drugs, sex & money which move CD’s off the shelf, but they lyrical content makes most of these types hits fade into the background quickly and easily. It’s funny how the more things change the more they stay the same. As Hip Hop & Rap births and buries new artist everyday, its good to see Wale keep his heart and soul intact while walking through the mire, muck & clay of this rap game that pits popularity and record sales against lyrical content and enlightenment. When Wale says “I’m tryna redefine the culture, renovate the soul” I get it. Wale is making music that’s here to stay.
My hat’s off to you Wale! Keep you head up, your lyrics tight and God on your side. Your line, “Lord Father if I opted to follow them, my heart would tear from my dreams let me know that you here!” is heard loud and clear. Peace and Blessings to you Wale.
This has been a Monae Music Moment. Til next time! Peace!