Very few rappers get second chances, but Wale did when he signed with Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group earlier this year. "Ambition" — the D.C. rapper's sophomore album released last Tuesday — proves, at least from a numbers perspective, Wale deserved another shot at stardom.
"Ambition" will debut on the Billboard 200 at No. 2 after selling 164,000 copies in its first week. Justin Bieber's Christmas album, the icky-titled "Under the Mistletoe," will be the only record above Wale's, with 210,000 copies sold.
Just last year, Wale was looked at in hip-hop circles like a promising college basketball player who flopped in the pros. No one said he was talentless, but there were plenty of opinions on how he should sound, look and carry himself. At times, the outspoken rapper sounded whiney in interviews, like Kanye West without the classic albums to justify the tears. His debut album, "Attention Deficit" dropped two years ago tomorrow, and it was a brick commercially (it debuted with 28,000 copies sold) and musically (the album lacked cohesion, fun and hits, despite a likely expensive, unnecessary Lady Gaga cameo).
Two years later, Wale has arrived in the spot he believed was his all along — the most prominent rapper from the DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) and a major player in hip-hop. Like almost all of the albums out now not named Adele's "21," "Ambition's" sales will likely drop off significantly in the next few weeks, but Wale and his supporters can enjoy this moment as a major accomplishment for an artist many counted out.
At the top of the post, watch Wale and Miguel perform "Lotus Flower Bomb," "Ambition's" for-the-ladies singles, on last night's "Jimmy Kimmel Live."