They’re one of very few duos coming up in hip-hop, and whilst that makes them a rare commodity, beyond that novelty they’re an excellent act with plenty of potential. Their Inland Empire mixtape had some great tracks on it, and even if it lacked a little consistency it was a good showing.
This project comes with a ton of backing from their label boss Hit-Boy, who also serves as the project’s executive producer- whilst that’s clearly to be expected of their employer, his claim that the tape featured some of the best music he’s ever made (or something to that effect) is not one he’d likely be throwing around too easily. Features include Joey Bada$$, Wale, T.I., and labelmate K. Roosevelt amongst others, whilst Hit-Boy’s frequent co-production credits suggests the beat work will also be up to scratch. It’s a project that could very well see Audio Push move into a more prominent position in hip-hop, and in any case should prove a good listen for mainstream hip-hop heads. Free stream and download below.
Those MMG boys work with some quick turnaround times. Whilst Wale made the mistake of not saving this for his own album, it appears the wider MMG crew are using it as their lead single from the upcoming Self Made Vol. 3 album.
Having given it further playtime in the intervening 24 hours between releases, my stance on Lupe’s verse has only grown more positive- it might just be the novelty factor as we haven’t heard him on a mainstream feature in quite some time, but it does put into perspective how talented a lyricist he can be when juxtaposed with his peers. Similarly, it shows up Wale’s relative regression somewhat: once a rapper known for an emotive delivery, his move to MMG seems to have stunted that passionate nature in favour of a misconceived attempt at rapping ‘cool’.
The clip is an enjoyable watch, capturing the warm, mellow nature of the production well. Opening with a set of bright scenes, both Ross and Lupe rap in front of generally summery environments, Lupe’s in particular enhancing his thoughtful raps via their relative desolation. Wale goes in the other direction and closes himself off, and much like his vocal contribution, it slightly stunts the momentum in terms of taking an expansive video into a comparatively claustrophobic environment. Generally though, a fitting video for a track that could well be a hit this summer; look out for the album on 6th August.
It’s been a while since we’ve had such a hip-hop heavy day, but I’m all for it. Wale’s been today’s chief contributor in that aspect, and rather lives by the word of this title: why didn’t he save this for his album?!
It’s a very enjoyable effort, taken from MMG’s upcoming Self Made Vol. 3 (which also contains a Rockie Fresh track released today that boasts an fantastic production), and one that sees Lupe make a first-time connection with the MMG crew, unless I’m mistaken. The production has a nice mellow undercurrent, throwing soft melodies in with the crisp, head-nodding percussion, and though the latter could probably do with a touch more bass, it’s a very smooth production otherwise. Ross opens with a surprisingly interesting verse, combining his braggadocios approach with some genuine reflectiveness, and credit to him for adapting his game to this production. Lupe steps up next with the standout verse, to the surprise of no-one, with the ‘poor decisions’ topic not only being right up his lyrical alley, but his dexterity on the mic showing through with a brief switch to a rapid-fire flow that makes for the track’s highlight. Wale closes with a solid performance, approaching the track in a similar vein to Ross, though his slower flow kills the momentum slightly. Still, it’s a good all-round track, headlined by an on-form Lupe Fiasco.
Wale’s third album, The Gifted, lands on 25th June and many will agree that there isn’t really any buzz for it. Most of the coverage has been for the unique artwork, and even the majority of that has been relatively mocking- whilst I think it’s fairly likeable, it doesn’t detract from the fact that musically, he’s not exactly stealing attention away from the other big releases coming in June.
What better way to turn heads than by grabbing a rare Rihanna feature? Seemingly old friends, Wale calls on her to rework a track that originally featured Tiara Thomas, and of course help push it into the mainstream consciousness. The original skipped by me slightly, but it’s clearly a track with a ton of potential; a catchy, chart-friendly hook, an easygoing production that’s suited perfectly to Rihanna’s cadence, and Wale pretty much fills the gaps with relatively uncomplicated raps. Funny thing to say, but I suspect many will find Rih’s adlibs a highlight here, oozing sex appeal throughout and adding a fun, unpredictable layer to the track. Hardly a return to form for Wale, but it’s a mainstream smash in the making that should get his hype up and move some numbers on the 25th.
Fair play to Funk Flex for this though, as the lineup is unbelievable and essentially a snapshot of mainstream hip-hop at this moment in time. Appearances include A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Childish Gambino, Fabolous, Action Bronson, Slaughterhouse, Young Jeezy and many, many more; for a full list, check out the back artwork over at Funk’s place. Many of the tracks from this tape have leaked out individually in the last 24 hours too, and thankfully they’re tagless versions, with one notable example being the Joey Bada$$ effort on the mixtape. If you’re after any of the other individual tracks, I’m sure a quick Google search can help you there, otherwise grab the bumper project for free below.
Very excited to give Pusha’s latest project a listen, his first since 2011′s Fear of God I and II releases, and the final one before his debut album drops in March.
There’s plenty expected of Push on that upcoming LP, and there’s no doubt he’s carved out quite a place for himself in hip-hop as a solo artist over the last 2 years. Features on this tape include Wale, Rick Ross and the ubiquitous French Montana and Troy Ave, whilst the production lineup is rather tantalising, with names such as The Neptunes, Kanye West, B!nk, !llmind and more contributing their works. Lots to look forward to in the near future from Push, and it starts with that free grab below.
Sourmilk and Justin Credible (props to those who associate that name with the old wrestler) have built up quite the name for themselves over the last couple of years as the LA Leakers, and their status as pre-eminent West Coast DJs is verified with this collection of unreleased tracks and remixes from some huge names.
Ryan Leslie, Wale, Pac Div, A$AP Rocky and Problem are amongst the established names contributing, whilst Ryan McDermott, Audio Push and Trinidad James are part of the very talented and/or popular upcomers featured here. For the mainstream and middle-ground hip-hop heads, there’s no reason you wouldn’t be grabbing this and I’ll delay you no further-head below for the free stream and grab.
One of a whole host of projects that got released over these past few days, but arguably the most anticipated in more mainstream circles. There’s nothing like a bit of mixtape Wale, and whilst it’s a shame that the division exists between the album and mixtape work, the sheer depth in quantity of his mixtapes makes his lesser work a bit easier to ignore.
This one comes in at a huge 21 tracks, with over half of them featuring some rather notable names: look out for contributions from Jhene Aiko, 2 Chainz, man of the moment Trinidad James, labelmates Rick Ross and French Montana, and many more. The diversity of the features suggests that this will be packed with a good variety of styles, and that’s also evident in the producer lineup, featuring Nottz, Diplo, Apple Juice Kid and Key Wane amongst others. Plenty to suggest this will be worth a go, and the grab is free below.
Some more lively work from Wale, and with that Folarin mixtape due in just a few days on Christmas Eve, it’s one that’ll get his fanbase excited for that release.
The production is upbeat, uplifting and everything in between, with a bright melody that’s complemented well by percussion that runs in and out of a few different styles, driving the track along skilfully. Wale’s raps fit right along too, with a positive inflection that adds an affable quality to his bragger raps, whilst his flows are tightly-packed throughout. Nothing massively new, but a solid all-round jam: no hooks, just straight rapping in a positive vibe, and that’s never a bad thing.
If you’ve ever wondered what sleazy sounds like, Game has just figured that one out for you. Drake (and others) often hover around that border line between being sleazy or just being a ‘player’, but this pretty much leaves that line in the rearview mirror as Game and Wale crank up the seediness for the latest #SundayService instalment.
It’s actually likeable though. The slowed-down, slightly jazzy production makes for a real change for Game, and it’s a welcome one. His naturally rough tones are a great contrast to this softened style of sound, whilst his delivery is adjusted correctly to this near-slow jam style, leaving the aggression he’s normally famed for behind. With that said, his flows have a nice hint of diversity too, with the second verse increasing the tempo slightly and injecting the track with a sprinkling of energy. Wale’s been found on a minimalist beat of this nature before, and hence he takes to it fairly well, though his sharper, nasal delivery doesn’t quite blend with the beat as well as Game’s does. Unfortunately cut from the upcoming Jesus Piece due to sample issues, this is something quite different from Game, and it’s a likeable one.
Wale recently announced the Folarin mixtape is set for a Christmas Eve release, and coupled that with this freebie, the first drop from the project.
He’s been a little hit and miss in recent times as he flits between his original style and that he’s encouraged to use as part of MMG, but this is most certainly the former. The track opens with soft guitars and flutes for a soulful intro, before stepping into bouncy percussion, bright synths and vocal samples to recreate the lively sort of beat Wale came up with. It means we get his familiar best in terms of flow, with a high tempo delivery that rides along the dynamic production excellently, whilst the vocal output switches between Wale’s raps, a vintage vocal sample and even Obama’s winning speech for an ever-changing approach that makes those 5 minutes fly by. I daresay it’s one of his best tracks in over 18 months, and I’ll give this one plenty of plays.
Excluding the MMG compilation album, it’s been a while since Wale dropped off some solo material, and it makes for a welcome change to the style of production he works on when in MMG company.
The production is one that seems to get better as the track evolves, despite not really changing much. Initially, the soulful and lively style doesn’t seem massively unique, but the progression of the track highlights the impact and quality of the vocal sample’s synergy with the rest of the beat. Wale’s raps aren’t bad, delivering a couple of witty lines as you’d expect, but they’re not as perfectly suited as they could be; something more biographical or a storytelling approach would have maximised this beat far more than the bragger raps he mostly goes with. Nonetheless, it’s a decent effort that’s held together by a very likeable beat.
Anybody else’s version of Savage Journey to the American Dream have a broken version of this song? Sadly, mine did. A shame, as it’s one of several standouts from Stalley’s tape.
Flammia does a great job with a soulful hook with lyricism that blends nicely with the raps, anchoring the song well, whilst frequent Stalley collaborators Block Beattaz serve up a futuristic yet laidback production that pads the track out with a great atmosphere. Stalley’s raps are once again enjoyable and complementary to the production style, his slick flows being strong throughout whilst his lyrics blend transparent honesty with a little attitude for a nice combination play. Wale’s a real downer on this one, his confused delivery not synergising with the beat, and his arrogant raps not working with the track as a whole.
The visual is great, picking up on that atmospheric and futuristic style with bright lights on the backdrop of nighttime scenery, adding a lot of vibrancy to the clip but without compromising the chillout side of the track. Worth a listen, and a nice easy watch to boot. Mixtape can be grabbed here.
The MMG clan almost come together in their entireity on this one, and there’s always a sense of trepidation when seeing a line-up this strong from the group, usually because it results in tired flows on repetitive beats.
Not this time. The production is funky, upbeat and packed with an infectious energy, elements which are excellently recreated by every rapper on the track. Torch lays down the gauntlet with a speedy delivery that sets things off nicely, before Meek Mill jumps in with quick raps of his own that amp up the track’s intensity, helped by an energetic performance in the video. A smooth vocal hook eases things off briefly before the ever-crazy Gunplay gets going with a very active performance of another in-your-face verse, followed by Wale who comes close to getting the highlight verse with a watertight flow delivered with an unflappable cool. Breed makes a decent account of himself next, and Stalley’s on last with the standout verse, combining razor-sharp flow with lyricism that’s different enough from his colleagues to command a little more attention. A surprisingly enjoyable posse cut. iTunes is your friend.
Lloyd appears to be gearing up for a new release, and he’s recruited Wale for a little help, a man who he’s worked fairly well with in the past.
Given that most of R&B’s big hitters seem to be on the bench right now, the track is a really refreshing listen. It’s a slow jam with plenty of that unmistakeable Lloyd style, combining the soft, atmospheric production he favours with vocal work which dials back on his usual drifty approach in favour of a more emotional delivery. Wale’s usually solid on R&B features, and his flow is superb here, switching between a couple of slightly different deliveries over little more a few piano notes, and it’s a good addition to what is a very solid all-rounder. Fingers crossed, there’s more of this ilk on its way soon.
A hard-hitting, grimey instrumental and 2/3 of the LOX? The combination promises much for the hip-hop heads, and it definitely delivers.
From Jada’s upcoming Consignment mixtape, the production has a real dark aura around it, blending some horror-esque melodies with pounding bass, sharp additional percussion and packaging them into a slow, menacing pace that enhances the atmosphere of the track. Wale opens the track with a disappointing verse, largely as his style doesn’t suit the beat at all, though Styles and Jada recover the song well with their verses, whilst French’s string of hook features continues here with another simple yet catchy chorus.
The undisputed highlight of Wale’s Ambition album, this motivational number is an excellent choice to restart the Wale/MMG buzz.
As one of Wale’s better tracks to date, there’s pressure on the clip to deliver, and thankfully it does. The video opens with, and is mostly anchored around, a nightime cityscape, capturing the dark and moody elements of the audio very well, ensuring the true essence of the track is visualised appropriately. The verses contain some excellent semi-biographical sections too, with Meek Mill reflecting on his time back in his neighbourhood and Ross offering a rare glimpse of his personal life with some brief clips of life as a young upcomer. Wale closes things off with a mix of isolated and studio scenes, and it becomes apparent that his verse is incredibly thin subject-wise, in comparison to the more personal styles Meek and Ross go with, with his arrogant bars not quite fitting in with the general introspection of the song/video.
An enjoyable watch nonetheless, and a real standout track in Wale’s back catalogue. Grab it on iTunes now.
This all star cast ensemble to bring us visuals for their recent remix of Tyga’s Rack City. Nothing really special to see, fairly basic hip hop video, but for a song like this, that’s all it needs. It’s just good to see such names get together and do something like this; as you all know, I love my collabos.
Originally I said my favourite verse of mine on this strangely addictive track is T.I.’s, but I’ve really warmed to Wale’s opening verse.
The A$AP Rocky original is a favourite of many (it falls short of the upper echelons for me), and Wale takes a spin on the chilled out yet trippy instrumental for a quickfire freestyle strike. The diversity in his delivery is commendable here, as he switches between a couple of flows that keep things dynamic, and whilst his lyrical substance is expectedly thin (because it’s a freestyle, not a slight on Wale!), the synergy with the production is decent enough to warrant a couple of listens. Not quite on par with the original, but a good effort nonetheless.
The remix to the massive hit that was Rack City sees Tyga, Wale, Fabolous, Meek Mill, Young Jeezy and T.I. all team up; what a lineup. Along with this official remix a video has been shot too. Best verse? For me it goes to T.I. who is really starting to come back into form after his latest jail stint. Download below.
The original was quite popular to Ambition‘s release, yet it was only a bonus track. Figure that one out.
Wale grabs some big names for the official remix, with each act doing a solid job on the controlled intensity that coarses through the production; whilst Tone P draws heavily from Lex Luger’s style, there’s enough bounce in the percussion to give it an identity of its own. Easy enough mainstream hip-hop to fill out a playlist. Sidenote: has anyone’s career undergone more of a turnaround after a namechange than 2 Chainz/Tity Boi?!
A track that heavily featured in my various playlists when it first dropped, on the day of the release of his album, Wale brings us visuals for his rather addictive collabo with J. Cole.
As Ajay said way back when, the beat on this is superbly done, and complimented by a very infectious hook by Cole. The verses from both parties aren’t particularly great in my opinion, but they don’t need to be for this mainstream-friendly track. The video reflects the not so serious vibe of the track, showing much enjoyment for all. Oddly, this doesn’t feature on Wale’s Ambition album, but may be found as a bonus track on some version of the album.
Laidback, easygoing vibes from Chip and Wale to finish off your Monday evening.
The production has a wistful, drifty sample as its core melody, and one that’ll catch your ear both for its pitch and effective simplicity, whilst the percussion slowly winds through the track and enhances the aforementioned sample by remaining fairly unobtrusive. Chip brings a decent verse and a solid hook, both packaged in a mellow delivery that synergises with the production well, whilst his lyrical content sticks true to the somewhat lavish and indulgent title. Wale injects the track with more sharpness, as his more urgent delivery contrasts with the relaxed style of Chip’s work for a little diversity. A good track that will fill out a playlist well enough, though lacks that ‘outstanding moment’ to be good enough to dominate one.
It’s been 3 years in the making, but finally Cudi and Wale come together for a brand new collaboration. Their last work was on Cudi’s breakout A Kid Named Cudi mixtape, and they’ve since had their personal issues with one another, but it’s good to see two guys who rose up almost simultaneously rekindle their relationship here.
The track itself is a solid, if unspectacular one. Cudi’s contribution is confined to a distorted set of vocals on the hook, and though it’s an enjoyable, uplifting hook, you can’t help but wish for a little more. Wale’s verses are decent throughout, and alongside a midtempo, motivational production make for a good listen, though something with a little more verve and energy would have done justice to this reunion.
Let loose by Wale recently and set for his upcoming Ambition album, this one is essentially the ‘Maybach Music’-style track most folk expect Wale’s album to be dominated with, as a Lex Luger (or latest imitation) beat joins forces with predictable, braggadocios raps from Wale and Ross.
Although it’s another ominous, intense Luger (style) beat it does have its moments, with the more energetic, synth-filled hook having a catchy, memorable quality, though otherwise it sounds largely similar to the 600 other beats we’ve heard come out of the MMG in the last 18 months. The raps aren’t anything spectacular but suit the beat well enough, and though Ricky oddly mimics Kanye’s slurry sentence tail-off at times, he’s still got an undeniable charisma that blends with these productions. OK material for fans of the Luger style, relatively boring for the rest of us. Hopefully, Ambition has a little more diversity.
Brand new single from Wale’s upcoming sophomore album, Ambition, set to be released on 1st November (or 11.1.11., as he spams daily on Twitter!).
A very solid effort too, and one that should be extremely popular with the mainstream crowd. The production is easygoing, with mellow, mesmeric synth work alongside a percussion that winds slowly throughout the track, and sprinklings of more electronic elements thrown in for a little diversity. Miguel does an excellent job with the hook, crooning his way to a catchy, passionate effort that contrasts with the laidback production to really project his voice, whilst Wale’s verses are enjoyable enough as he experiments with a range of flows and keeps the subject matter accessible and mainstream friendly. A decent all-rounder.
Brand new work from someone who generally brings some real quality to his mixtape products, as Wale comes through with the latest addition to his lengthy catalogue.
He’s been on a decent run of form recently with his various verses, and the early response to this tape seems to suggest that consistency continues with this 18-track effort. The tracklist offers a taste of what to expect, with a few solid features and a few familiar tracks (Lacefrontin‘ and Let’s Chill, amongst others) as well as some new efforts that will hopefully be as diverse as those we’re already familiar with. Free grab available below.