Wale – SHINE (Album Review)
I’ll be the first to remind you that Wale has underachieved a bit in his career, and maybe that is because we have always had high expectations for him, and he just hasn’t delivered that one album that has blown us away yet. The good news is this: Every new album he releases is another chance to prove himself, so let’s see if he can finally impress us this time around.
5. MY LOVE
This song is not necessarily great because of Wale, but the goal is to make a good record period, so it doesn’t even matter.
The chemistry on this song is phenomenal! Everyone is in sync, doing what they do well when given their time.
Wizkid sounds great, Dua Lipa sounds great, and Wale leaves his stamp on the song by laying down his wit.
I can definitely see this being the official song for FIFA 2018 World Cup Coverage.
4. FISH N GRITS
Even though the song may sound Travis-esque, Wale spits some real s–t on it by rapping with some ‘Put some respect on my name’ type lyrics; Wale could’ve easily dumbed it down on this song, but he didn’t (Thank GOD).
I have a mixed reaction to Travis Scott on this song: While he does give you something catchy, it sounds like 2-3 years ago Travis Scott to me. Nonetheless, Travis always stands out on a track, and that doesn’t change here.
I’m pretty sure these guys were not in the studio when this was made.
3. RUNNING BACK
Do you remember the last time Wale and Wayne made a track together? It was the legendary ‘Nike Boots (Remix)’ in which Wayne absolutely murdered! This song is not as tough as Nike Boots, but it is still very damn good.
It’s a bit of a different sound from Wale on this one, as he chooses to rap over this ‘Alice in the Wonderland’ like beat. Wale does use this flow that I’ve heard him use before, which means it isn’t completely left field.
Lil Wayne has the second verse, and he gives us a mix of Auto-Tune Wayne and belligerent Wayne. I do like how colorful his verse is, as you can just hear this joy from him that you would’ve thought wavered by now.
In all honesty, this song has to be one of the more meaningless songs I’ve heard from Wale in a while; I prefer meaningless Wale though.
2. MY PYT
This was literally The newest thing I heard from Wale since the damn First Take intro.
How can I explain this track:
1. Sam Sneak sounds like a crackhead Tyga, but once you get past that, you realize he put up a damn good chorus.
2. I love when Wale harmonizes, and he does this on this track a lot. He’s attached a very good melody to his verses, and found just enough catchy s–t to say throughout.
3. This song kinda reminds me of that Nelly Track called ‘The Fix’ (This song is better though).
This is an adorable club record by Wale that has some good energy to it.
1. FASHION WEEK (5/5)
Only Wale can make a song like ‘Fashion Week’: The tempo of the beat, the style of the beat, and the topic of the song damn there caters to everything Wale likes to do.
One of the biggest topics Wale likes discussing is fashion, and on the chorus/verse, he gives listeners a chance to see how he sees those runway models from a rappers point of view. Wale’s verse is very animated, as he takes the beat on this wild ride.
G-Eazy is a bit of a surprise feature, but when you actually think about it, the sleek beat fits G-Eazy well. Much like his other songs, G-Eazy raps with this nonchalant style that reminds us that he is a reincarnate of The Fonz.
This is definitely one of Wale’s best songs to date.
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. THANK GOD (4.5/5)
2. RUNNING BACK (5/5)
3. SCARFACE ROZAY GOTTI (4.9)
4. MY LOVE (5/5)
5. FASHION WEEK (5/5)
6. COLLUMBIA HEIGHTS (4.4/5)
7. CC WHITE (3.8/5)
8. MATHEMATICS (4.2/5)
9. FISH N GRITS (4.9/5)
10. FINE GIRL (4.4/5)
11. HEAVEN ON EARTH (4.2/5)
12. MY PYT (5/5)
13. DNA (3.9/5)
14. SMILE (4.8/5)
OVERALL RATING (7.6/10)
This album is a lot of fun. I feel like Wale experimented quite a bit on it, trying out a few sounds that I didn’t quite know he was willing to try. You can tell with some of these songs he was aiming for some home runs, and I think a few of them actually went out the park.
Lyrically, Wale is as good as he’s ever been, incorporating some really tough bars on not so tough sounding records. While his content on the album isn’t broad, I personally think a simplified Wale is a better Wale to listen to.
The production on this album is very diverse: You have some club beats, Afro–beats, street beats, book bag beats, etc etc; what makes Wale such a good rapper is that his versatility allows him to adjust to whatever beat that comes his way.
While I usually don’t like a lot of features on a rappers s–t, I feel like in this case every feature fits perfectly! Also, Wale never really lets anyone outshine him, which is a good look for him, as he looks to claim that top spot.
I sorta compare this album to Wayne’s ”The Carter III’, in which there was a big focus on giving the masses what they wanted to hear (as opposed to his core fans). Wale finally had some fun on the album, which makes it a very enjoyable listen. *He definitely took Coles advice didn’t he.*
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.