Wale Previews “Ambition” for Exclusive NYC Crowd
Not long ago, Rich Kleiman tweeted “my little brother Wale works harder than you.” And when I met him on Oct 26, at the Gansevoort Park Hotel’s penthouse suite, he reiterated “ that’s the hardest working man right there.” I almost brushed it off until it finally dawned on me: no other rapper in recent years has had a bigger comeback (in my opinion) than he has.
Think about it for a second. This is a guy from the nation’s capital who came out in 2005 with a bunch hip-hop records that were both politically and socially conscious (and also heavily influenced by go-go music) that wasn’t really being well received because it was out of the norm. That same rapper was also criticized by well-known radio personalities for not portraying the proper perception of the average guy from the DMV. Now fast forward to 2009 and all of a sudden he’s pretty much everywhere!
So what did he do that was slightly different back then? He kept the same content (but changed his delivery), got better management, completely swapped his production, substituted Interscope Records for Warner Bros., and teamed up with the biggest bawse that we’ve seen thus far, to surround himself with people that actually care about him and his music! Oh yea…and he hustled his ass off in the process. One major album and six critically acclaimed mixtapes later, Mr. Nike Boots is prepping the release of his sophomore album. Man…if that ain’t Ambition, then I don’t know what is.
What’s more, for the past few weeks and months even, the DC native has been relentlessly promoting and embedding 11.1.11 into the brains of hip-hop fans across the nation. Throw in the guest features and the recent singles we’ve heard, and I’d say the release date couldn’t come fast enough. So you can only imagine how I felt along with hundreds of my peers as we previewed the album. The 16-track opus features production from DJ Toomp, Diplo and T- Minus with appearances from Big Sean, Jeremih, Lloyd, Miguel and Ne-Yo. Just by reading the names of the artists he’s collaborated with it’s easy to assume that Ambition could pass off as an R&B effort (it’s not). Instead, it’s a well-rounded project that boasts it’s fair share of club bangers, street anthems and radio hits. Let’s not forget the refreshing subject matter either.
So it’s only right that the MMG signee was in good spirits amongst his friends including rappers Fabolous, Jim Jones, J.Cole and label mate Meek Mill as he celebrated his accomplishments. Filled with a few personal stories, nothing but pure goodness blared from the speakers as DJ Envy spun his turntables. Though the Teflon don was absent for the night, it is expected that New Yorkers can catch him on stage at Terminal 5 on 10/28 and again on 11/2 at the Highline Ballroom presented by Myspace Music and HOT 97.
Make sure you go cop the album on Tuesday or pre-order it here. Ad be sure to check out the footage below:
You can also preview the entire album before it drops below:
Props to ShowTime TV.