Why we need Wale: A look into why his raw talent outweighs his likability
It wasn’t until this past winter, when Wale’s word on taking a break from social media rang true, that I realized we needed Wale.
Now, if you’re on Twitter or following the conversation you hear and see, you’ll probably say that Wale was trash. You’ve probably laughed at a meme of Vince Carter dunking his album into a recycling bin or snickered at some retweet that no one cares about his music.
Because, the truth of the matter is, not a lot if people like Wale.
Wale’s likability does not bode well pretty much anywhere, and its hard to place the blame on anyone specifically. It’s been more of chain reaction than anything — a domino effect, if you will. It’s been a pulling and pushing of trying to convince everyone he’s good enough and just letting his music be for who it’s for, which is partially his fault.
But this is why Wale is so valuable to hip-hop.
Who doesn’t relate to always feeling like you’re not good enough or that you must prove yourself to everyone? Who isn’t in it for the glory? To be the best? Hip-hop doesn’t have enough rappers who show their emotion on their sleeves; who are transparent with the toils of success and the pursuit of it. But that’s Wale.
Wale said in an interview with The Breakfast Club,
“I don’t care about the money, jo. I like the sport of rhyming. I want to have quadruple enterdres on certain records and everybody to be rewinding them… that’s what I care about.”
It’s why, in late December of 2013, he spazzed out on Complex for not making their “50 Best Albums of 2013” list, it’s why he used to go back and forth with nobodys on Twitter, and it’s why he suffers with anxiety.
Though he social hiatus was short, when he returned with the LeBron ‘decision’ aviator on Twitter (which we later found out meant he’d left Atlantic), his shoe collection stunt on Instagram, and his newest EP, It’s Complicated, it felt like someone you knew hadn’t gave up.
Wale has released five major studio albums, gone gold twice, is Grammy-nominated and has a history of dominating the urban radio. Yet, it still feels like his career isn’t quite in the place it deserves.
On one hand, he easily one of the nicest with a pen. From his spoken word intros to his wordplay, he’s gifted at putting words together. But it’s understandable for someone not to like his sound. Which is okay. It all about ignoring the negative and embracing the positive.
The problem is that it’s fun to hate, and Wale, in part, has made himself an easy target.
I’m sure there are people you can point out with positions you believe you deserve and I bet you’ve had recognition left on the table in one area of your life or another, which is why figures like his matter in public light.
Coming in with the class of J.Cole, Drake and Cudi, Wale has always felt like he’s been the least-embraced of his peers. You can even compare him to the class after — with Kendrick, Big Sean, and even Wiz — it always seems like Wale has never gotten the respect he deserves.
Wale’s stint with Interscope went left after poor sales of his debut studio album, Attention Deficit in 2011. In 2014, Wale amicably split with Roc Nation (around the same time Meek Mill called him a cornball and that he was no longer MMG) and, as of February of this year, after six year and three albums, Wale has parted ways with Atlantic Records, the major label which umbrellas the Maybach Music Group empire.
Yet, here he is, with another project, not missing a beat.
Since 2009, when Wale first came to the majors, he’s released a studio album every two years. Not only is that consistency, but it’s more than what the majority of rappers can say. It’s part of the reason he named his latest single “Staying Power”.
“Lately been feelin’ like niggas doubt me/Trust me, they don’t got no staying power/Left Atlantic, about a minute later/Every record label try and scout me.”
We need Wale because we need to see the reality side of things for a change.
Not just the deals, the highs and the success — but the fears and doubts. The longing for more, the dissatisfaction and the balance through turbulence.
He’s not perfect and he may not even be your favorite, but he’s honest, and that’s worth something,