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Today marks the release of Skullcandy family member Wale's third studio studio album, The Gifted, and it's a statement of intent for the self proclaimed “Ambassador of Rap for the Capital.” From the very first track, “The Curse of the Gifted”, it's clear that Wale is taking a new direction into what he has termed New Black Soul…
Not that this means that there will be less rapping, as Wale brings his usual flair throughout the album. It's more that there is a marked focus on soul-influenced sounds. Whether it’s an emphasis on soul singer baking or a reliance on live instrumentation instead of pre-fab beats, it's clear that Wale is blazing his own trail musically. The best two examples from The Gifted are “LoveHate Thing” featuring Sam Dew, in which Dew's soul hook perfectly compliments Wale's rapped verse, and Gullible featuring CeeLo Green, which is straight up fire.
We’re not saying that he has completely eschewed his former style. There are still a litany of collaborators and even one legitimate club banger in “Clappers,” which features Nicki Minaj and Juicy J. Standouts are “Tired of Dreaming”, which features Ne-Yo and Rick Ross, and “88”, which was produced by Just Blaze.
This album is a definite statement that Wale is not going to let himself get stuck doing the same old thing. That, and it's just a damn good album. You can stream it right now below on Spotify
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Check out photos from Wale's performance in NYC last night below.