Wale can rap his ass off.

He's quietly one of the more respected wordsmiths among fans and peers. But in addition to being able to kick a slick rhyme, deliver a dope metaphor and drop punchlines galore, but he is also adept at hitting the studio and walking out with a hit, which he has done time and time again. But in 2017, despite all that Wale has done up to this point in his career, there has remained a lingering belief that his best was yet to come. That was a hope many held as Wale released his fifth studio album, SHINE.

With the tepid reaction to Wale's last project, Album About Nothing, the D.C. rapper has changed course on SHINE, straying from the dense subject matter that he's known for, and going with a more homogeneous sound. While past albums have found Wale stuck in his own head, SHINE finds him a more leisurely state, creating jams that cater to the ladies, the dancefloor, and the streets--with wrinkles of introspection peppered in-between.

With SHINE currently in heavy rotation, we've handpicked and ranked what we feel are five of the best songs from the album. Did your favorite make the cut?

  • 5

    "CC White"


    Grim realities are broached on "CC White," one of the heavier tunes on SHINE. Produced By Cedric Brown, "CC White" finds Wale touching on the effects that cocaine has had on the black community, under the guise of the drug being a woman, documenting her travels and interactions with the likes of convicted drug kingpin Rayful Edmonds and former Washington D.C. mayor Marion Barry. Equipped with a catchy refrain for a hook and melodic wrinkles on the part of Wale, "CC White" is one of Wale's better topical cuts.

  • 4

    "My Love"

    Wale Featuring Dua Lipa, Major Lazer & Wizkid

    International flavor carries "My Love," a festive composition that pairs Wale with Dua Lipa, Major Lazer, and Wizkid. "You've been here, but you've been missin' for some time now," Dua Lipa croons, before Wale and Wizkid contribute saccharin vocals of their own as the live instrumentation reaches a crescendo. Rhyming "My team, team, we on that new ting/My mink draggin' like it's Liu Kang," Wale turns in a steady performance, as the gust vocalists compliment his stanzas with melody, making "My Love" an uptempo gem.

  • 3

    "Fine Girl"

    Wale Featuring Olamide & Davido

    Wale's attention turns to the opposite sex on "Fine Girl," a dancehall inspired number. Produced By Marcè Reazon, and powered by a mid-tempo riddim, "Fine Girl" pairs Folarin with Olamide and Davido, the latter of which provides a highlight guest verse, owning the record with a show-stealing performance. Island vibes are the crux of "Fine Girl," a cut that is guaranteed to hat up dance-floors for the foreseeable future.

  • 2

    "Scarface Rozay Gotti"


    Wale gets into a mellow zone on "Scarface Rozay Gotti." Rhyming over delicate synths and digitized percussion, Wale pays homage to some of the more beloved artists in his hometown. Crooning "Came down from the spot because they got me/I'm bumping Scarface, Rozay, and Gotti," in between dropping heady couplets like "Sitting so close to the Cavs/Wizards game/I get any type of wisdom from Lebron James," Wale delivers on this standout.

  • 1


    Wale Featuring Phil Ade

    Inspiration and perspective are both served in heavy doses on "Smile," SHINE's finale and arguably the album's most impressive selection. Produced By Pro Reese, "Smile" finds Wale touching on the current political climate with lines like "And a possible bigot slash misogynist is 'bout to run the whole damn thing/And the ballot my sister filled in in another city didn't do a god-damn thing," in addition to bars wrapped around finding security in the warmth of family and friends. Featuring D.C. lyricist Phil Ade, who lends an explosive guest verse that anchors the track, "Smile" is a great close-out.

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