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Posted at 10:08 AM ET, 11/01/2011

Wale's "Ambition" is a plateau, not a peak

The Wale who shows up on “Ambition” isn’t the one who has shown so much promise over the years. (Josh Sisk/FTWP)
Wale is on the up and up and up.

“Bait,” the new single from the Washington rapper, embodies the sky-touching confidence of a man who just scaled Mount Everest — even if he hasn’t left the District.

He raps about sitting courtside at a Wizards game. Then a strip club on Queens Chapel Road. Then racing his Mercedes through the streets of gentrified Washington.

With go-go band TCB riding the beat like a bulldozer, Wale plays the brilliant, blabbermouth tour guide, daring us to keep up with his hyper-nuanced references to all things hyper-local: The Goodman basketball league at Barry Farm, the defunct local clothing line H.O.B.O., ’80s drug kingpin Tony Lewis and his activist son Tony Lewis Jr .

“Bait” has become Washington’s latest local anthem, spilling out of car stereos and nightclub speakers all across the District. On a recent Friday afternoon, Wale performed it at Yardfest, the annual Homecoming concert on Howard University’s quad. As students shouted along — WORK! WORK! WORK! WORK! — the anticipation for his new album, “Ambition,” felt almost tangible in the crisp autumn air.

But here’s the rub: “Bait” isn’t on the album.

And neither is the Wale who wrote it.

Read the full review from today’s paper.

By  |  10:08 AM ET, 11/01/2011

Categories:  Album reviews | Tags:  Wale

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