I hate to say it, but Wale’s window of opportunity is closing fast. A career that I once thought was as promising as any one of your favorite rappers in the game (Drake, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole included) has now seen its share of doubt. However, if you’ve followed the DMV artist these last couple of months, you know that he’s been trending in the right direction, dropping a few EP’s that I thought featured some pretty hungry bars from him. For this reason alone, I’m optimistic that he can get back on the road to success; hopefully this album can serve as a buffer.
2. 3 DAYS 3 HOURS
One of the main reasons I’ve enjoyed Wale’s music these last couple of months is because he’s been intent on dabbling in R&B vibes. I think he is the truest version of himself when he does that, and on “3 Days 3 Hours,” he grants my wishes by doing it again.
Over this soothing instrumental, Wale talks about seeking a chick that understands his wants, needs and everything in-between. Never one to hide his true emotions (even if it makes him look like a sucker for love), the dread-headed MC trades animated bars for stripped down ones that relies more on poetic feels throughout his contributions.
I love when Wale is relatable like this! I also love when he raps after losing his voice (That n***a’s vocal chords are shakier than Derrick Roses’ knees).
1. MY BOY
Wale and J. Cole are tight — so tight that Cole felt the need to give the DC native some constructive critici
Well it looks like any bad blood that
should’ve may have come from that song is under the bridge, cause today, they decided to link up for “My Boy.” On it, both witty MC’s go back and forth, dropping verses aimed to show the fake ones the real, the lost ones the way, and the haters the bottom of their sneakers. I love the ‘grungy/old school/chilling at the blacktop rapping in front of the whole school’ feel to the song.
Cole may have dropped the verse of the year on this song! His punchlines, his wit, his delivery, his flows and determination to be great are all breath-taking. I did the stank-face listening to him rap, and I haven’t done that since Royce Da 5’9’s album. As for Wale’s verse…Ya’ll know when the sun is coming out?
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. DUMMIES (4/5)
2. UNGRATEFUL AND THANKFUL (3.5/5)
3. 3 DAYS AND 3 HOURS (4/5)
4. MY BOY (4/5)
5. RIGHT HERE (3/5)
Free Lunch symbolizes Wale’s career up until this point: It has its highs and lows.
Too many times on this EP, I felt like Wale was trying a bit too hard to say the greatest thing you’ve ever heard in your life, ultimately sounding like the musical version of a Quarterback that threw a couple interceptions because they were pressing. Other times, I felt like he connected with his listeners exactly how I would want him to, understanding the mood of the song he’s on and getting in where he fits in (Like a QB that manages the game as opposed to trying to take it over). When he does the latter, I think he’s special.
In the midst of all the animated deliveries and pressing bars, Wale talked about a lot of real s**t. On a few songs, he touched on the f**kery going on in his community, while also letting the world know about his willingness to go toe to toe with other rappers (Those were the topics that stood out to me the most). He definitely served you with some serious food for thought at times, and when he did, I listened hard. Unfortunately, sprinkled in with these wise words were a bunch of meaningless bars about his luxurious items, which prompted an eye roll from me because it comes across as disingenuous when you take his character into account. So to sum it up, good Wale is when he walks the line of prophet and competitor, and bad Wale is when he acquiesces to what all the other rappers talk about.
Wale has punchlines, he’s wise, but I still have an issue with his ear for music. After listening to a sample size of his music that spans all the way back to 2005, I’ve come to conclusion that a one-dimensional (Tops two-dimensional) version of the rapper is the only way he’s going to win in this industry. I hate to limit him, but some sounds simply don’t fit to his strengths. Too many times he sounds lost, and by now, if he hasn’t found the way, he should probably camp out where he is and make that new area his home.
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.