by Carla Bynum
He first gained buzz with the release of his mixtape Paint a Picture in 2005. Since then he has joined Maybach Music and released 10 mixtapes and five studio albums.
Wale released his fifth studio album Shine on April 28th, a week before its original release.
The album starts with the track “Thank God,” a powerful song about how Wale is thankful for maturation. He’s thankful that he isn’t in the same place he used to be. He raps about his enemies and neighbors and wishes them well. The song features vocals from Rotimi.
“Scarface Rozay Gotti” is dedicated to three rappers who have been influential to Wale throughout his career so far. Growing up in D.C., Scarface was a big part of the scene and Wale always looked up to him. Rick Ross is a given considering he signed Wale to Maybach Music Records and finally we have Gotti.
“My Love” is a dancehall inspired track featuring Major Lazer and Dua Lipa. Upon first listen, it sounds nothing like a Wale song but he chimes in just before the one minute mark. The feel good song samples WizKid’s single “Sweet Love.”
The single “Fashion Week” featuring G-Eazy was released on February 23rd and is perhaps best known for its catchy tune. Wale and G-Eazy rap about their appreciation for the ladies in their lives.
Wale is always looking for ways to challenge himself as an artist and songwriter. He did just that on the track “Colombia Heights (Te Llamo)” featuring Reggaeton artist J. Balvin, who delivers his entire verse in Spanish. “Man, it was a vibe man,” Wale said of the song. “It’s just something different…this is just one of them Shine vibes.”
“CC White” is a metaphorical song about cocaine and his history with the drug and the affects it has on users.
Wale raps about people he’s no longer cool with on the track “Mathematics.” He promises to always keep it 100 with his squad but only 50% with people he knows are not genuine.
Travis $cott joins Wale on the song “Fish n Grits,” a song about money and the high life, just to name a few.
Wale showcases his Nigerian culture on the track “Fine Girl,” a song dedicated to the beauty of women. He is joined by two of Nigeria’s biggest Afropop artists Olamide and Davido. The song is performed in English as well as Nigerian Pidgin and Yoruba. The song will certainly make listeners want to dance.
“Heaven on Earth” is a love song performed by Wale and Chris Brown. Wale ensures his lady that she can have whatever she wants no matter the price. Chris Brown sings about a lady that is a gift and a curse. She isn’t perfect but worth everything she wants. I can definitely hear this song on the radio.
The album’s first single “MY PYT” was released on May 20, 2016 and features Sam Sneak. The song is about the special lady in Wale’s life. The song interpolates “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye and “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson.
Wale offers up good dick and advice to his lady on the track “DNA.” The highlight of the song comes with Wale’s spoken word segment in the middle.
The album closes on a positive note with the song “Smile,” which features Phil Adé and Zyla Moon. Wale reminds listeners that no matter what’s going on, there’s always a reason to smile.
Wale is known for constantly reinventing himself as an artist. On Shine, he continues to stretch himself and try out different sounds. The album has a few standout tracks such as the feel good “Smile” and “Scarface Rozay Gotti,” however, much of the album falls flat. While I appreciate Wale’s desire to continue pushing himself as an artist, I miss the music that focuses less on trendiness and more on the lyrics and content.
Recommended Tracks: “Smile,” “Scarface Rozay Gotti,” “Fish n Grits,” “Heaven on Earth,” “Colombia Heights (Te Llamo),”