Wale can’t win. Not that he can’t make a successful album, but when you think about it, he’ll never get the praise he so feverishly pursues and expects from people. Why? Because:
(A) Wale probably expects more props for what he does than the limits of his talent warrant,
(B) Everything about Wale’s online and offline persona sucks.
Given Wale’s peevish nature, he could drop the most phenomenal album of all time and no perceptive person who’s seen his behavior up to this point would take any interest. With hip-hop, it’s difficult to separate the material from the persona the rapper presents, unless you’re one of those smart rappers who limit their presence outside of their work and/or don’t present themselves outside of their work at all. Social media and reality TV together have made the rappers who use them overexposed and way too vulnerable for the bravado they sell on record. Both mediums, initially thought of as an incredible tool for connecting with fans, have proven in a number of cases to reveal artists with shitty personalities and shittier intelligence quotients. Wale is the poster child for the rapper who probably ruined his career by becoming active on Twitter. Because no one buys the bravado you’re selling when you’re online having a meltdown every other day and showing you’re a hothouse flower and not the secure MC a hip-hop head can actually respect.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that Wale recently called up Complex to threaten their staff for not including him in this year’s top 50 albums list. Instead of focusing on those who do support his work, Wale tends to make the biggest spectacle of chasing down praise from people who seem reluctant or unwilling to give it…or just don’t like his music. I mean, at the end of the day…it’s Complex. Not mentioning Wale’s album is probably the best decision the folks over there made in terms of hip-hop coverage all year.
Imagine Wale had left Twitter alone and portrayed himself as a humble adult as opposed to a petulant imp. Come to think of it…he might be forced to come up with some new subject matter if he wasn’t constantly rapping about being denied recognition. As much as I hate to admit it, Wale could (hypothetically) drop the best 16 I’ve heard in the last five years and I wouldn’t give it an ear, simply because he’s shared a little too much on the Internet for me to take him seriously as a rapper or as an adult. Tragic. You can say all that matters is the music, but I beg to differ when it comes to hip-hop and when you throw in the baring of the soul via social media. Sometimes it can help, but in most cases, it probably helps to leave some of the mystique and step away from the computer.