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Review written by Evan K. (@LegendarE).

Few rappers today are as outspoken and vocally critical of their own careers as Wale is. Over five years in the game now, Wale has seen a once-promising career look dead only to be resurrected by MMG head Rick Ross. With his third album out today, Wale looks to show improvement and prove that he belongs in the conversation as one of hip-hop’s elites.

Before going into analysis and much detail The Gifted is a much better album than Ambition which was Wale’s second album and the first one released under the Maybach Music Group imprint. The problem with Ambition was that it sounded like an album that Rick Ross would have wanted to release, it wasn’t an album that seemed like Wale was in full control of. Furthermore, there was little cohesion to Ambition that made it seem like a fully formed project.

The Gifted is not a perfect album, however it is a dam good one considering all of the albums that have been released this month, and is definitely the best album of Wale’s career to date. The album shows Wale’s first attempt of a cohesive effort with most tracks having a soul vibe to them, allowing the album to flow without many interruptions.

However, a clear divide can be made between the first and second half of the album that is not for the best. While the first eight tracks all have some soul influence that allow Wale to spit some of his best rhymes in years, the second half seem kind of disjointed.

For someone who dislikes critics as much as Wale does, he sure goes out of his way to please them with several tracks that can be placed into cliche categories in the latter of the album. From the radio song “Bad,” to the future club favorite “Clappers,” the weed song “Rotation” and song for the ladies “Tired of Dreaming,” some of the promise of the album is diminished as The Gifted hits its end.

My favorite line on the album is off the track “Sunshine” in which Wale states, “Almost got my ass dropped/now I’m stuntin’ on them.” And truthfully, that is how most of the album sounds. Wale seems happier and content with where he is in life and some of the pressures of his career don’t seem to bother him as much. As a result, Wale was able to focus and make his best album to date. The Gifted gets a solid 3.5/5 from me, but what do you think? The can pick up a copy and take a listen today via iTunes.