Wale’s highly anticipated sophomore album aptly titled Ambition, dropped last week. The album is Wale’s first since leaving Interscope to join Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group. A move which left many fans wondering if Wale would change his lyrical style to fit in with Ross’ lifestyle of Ice, cars, money and women.
Did Wale sell out? Is ambition the classic that Wale claimed it would be? Read the review to find out…
Stand Out Tracks
Ambition ft Meek Mill & Rick Ross – The title track steals the show for me. Wale enlists the help of his MMG Crew Ross and Meek Mill on this T-Minus produced track. Meek Mill goes hard, and drops the best verse out of the three but all three of them spit real verses about their upbringing, ambition and how it fits into their lifestyle, which makes this a really inspiring track. With the phrase “Ambition is Priceless, that’s something that’s in your veins” being repeated throughout the three verses.
DC Or Nothing – This is one of the most personal/introspective tracks on the album that sees Wale touching on a couple of topics that are obviously very close to his heart. He raps about his hometown Washington DC, teenage pregnancy, Politicians, Aids and the death of his friend, amongst other topics. “No Obama gon’ stop this, with his minimal conscious and his thousands of choppers”. Wale goes hard on this emotionally charged track. The hook is also on point, not sure who’s on it. Track reminds me of Jay-Z’s Minority Report (Kingdom Come)
Chain Music – This track was originally released on Wale’s Eleven One Eleven mixtape but makes its way onto the album, and it’s easy to see why. The beat is straight up crazy, arguably the best on the album. Wale doesn’t disappoint lyrically either as he addresses the “Chain” culture where ladies are only interested in guys with chains (money). “Don’t nobody see you when you’re being humble”
Legendary – This may be Wale’s most “lyrical” track on the album as he spits about how he wants to be legendary, over a slow tempo beat by produced by DJ Toomp. “Fuck fame, Fuck Money, I’m just trying to be legendary” he raps on the hook, which is a bit ironic considering that he signed with Maybach Music Group which has given him both money and fame. The concept, lyrics, delivery and production makes this a strand out track.
Sabotage ft Lloyd: Wale decides to get personal on this one as he raps about a previous relationship that went wrong because of the insecurities that the girl had, as a result of her past relationships. Lloyd handles the hook and while I usually find his high pitched voice quite annoying, he really does a great job on this track.
I’m not sure who produced this one but it sounds like it was recorded with a live band playing in the background. Beat is really dope, verses are on point and Lloyd does a great job on the hook.
That Way ft Rick Ross and Jeremih – I’m not entirely sure why Wale was so dead set on putting this track on Ambition, especially after it appeared on the Maybach Music Group Self Made Vol.1 Compilation album which dropped some months ago. The beat is good though, which is surprising considering that it’s a Lex Luger production, and Wale and Ross both drop dope verses, while Jeremih handles the hook expertly.
Don’t Hold your applause: The intro track sets thing off on the right path as Wale gives listeners a taste of what’s to come from the album. “GQ man of the Year, Cudi, Drizzy and me” spits Wale as he clearly aims and takes shots at his critics on this track. Wale makes it clear that his time has come and that he’s ready to silence his detractors. This sets the tone for the rest of the album quite nicely.
Lotus Flower Bomb ft Miguel – The lead single off the album features Miguel on the hook and has proven to be quite a hit with fans, despite not doing well on the charts. The beat is slow, Wale’s verses and wordplay is on point, and Miguel murks the hook.
Focused ft Kid Cudi – The second single off the album sees Wale reuniting with Kid Cudi who’s on hook duties. The track is alright, but doesn’t really deliver as a single with Kid Cudi on the hook it was always going to be interesting. And by interesting I mean different, which is not what you want for a single. The beat is good but the hook and verses are just okay.
Other Bubbling under tracks: Miami Nights, Double M Genius, White Linen ft Ne-Yo
Not quite There
No Days Off: Wale is known as Mr. No Days off so I was expecting more from this track but felt disappointed by his lyrics, the slow beat and weak hook which sees him repeating “no days off, no days off” until you feel like falling asleep.
“Momma want me to go find a wife / I’m like sorry ma, this not the time” is just one of the examples of lazy bars Wale drops on this forgettable track. Easily the worst track on the album for me.
Slight Work: This is the type of track Wale said he would never do. The beat is retarded with Police sirens all over it. This track was made for the club, and features Big Sean who seems to excel at these types of songs. Might be a hit in the clubs but its one of the tracks that has me reaching for the skip button.
Illest Bitch alive: This is Wale’s attempt at uplifting women, or his sisters as he refers to them. The title of the track and the hook ruins any good intentions Wale may have had when he wrote this because I can’t see any self-respecting woman taking him seriously after he refers to her as the Illest Bitch Alive. One time for the illest bitch Alive? No Wale, just, no.
Ambition proves to a very solid album from Wale and the Maybach Music Group, who decided to stay away from big name features and also big name producers, with most of the tracks being handled by relatively unknown producers. It seems as if Wale has learned from the mistakes he made with his debut album.
While it may not be the classic that Wale had hoped it would, Ambition proves to be a career defining album for an artist who could so easily have turned into another promising XXL Freshmen who failed to reach his potential. With Ambition though, Wale makes it clear that he’s not going anywhere as he carves out a name and lane for himself and the Maybach Music Group.
Ambition is one of those albums that just get better the more you listen to it.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5