Wale’s 7 Most Underrated Tracks

Wale is officially back with his latest single, “Max Julien.” The DC native’s return coincides with recent reports of his signing to Def Jam. The new single and label change mark an exciting next chapter for his career, building anticipation for a new album. An accomplished MC with platinum singles and chart-topping hits, Wale has an extensive catalog filled with underrated gems. He may be known for his massive hit singles and collaborations, but there are many songs in his discography that deserve more recognition. Today, we are exploring seven of Wale’s most underrated tracks. Take a look at the list below.

“Beautiful Bliss” feat. Melanie Fiona & J. Cole (2009)

Wale and J. Cole’s relationship goes way back. They came up in the rap game together, opening for JAY-Z on his 2009 Blueprint 3 Tour and featuring on mixtapes. One of their earliest and most underrated collaborations, “Beautiful Bliss,” stands out in Wale’s discography. This highlight from his 2009 debut album, Attention Deficit, stuns with a triumphant instrumental, a gorgeous hook from Melanie Fiona, and one of J. Cole’s best guest features. It also displays the natural chemistry between the two rappers. Wale and J. Cole would eventually bump heads later in their careers, but the two have remained close collaborators. They later worked together on songs like “Black Grammys,” “The Pessimist,” “My Boy Freestyle,” and most recently, “Poke It Out.” Over a decade later, “Beautiful Bliss” exhibits the effortless synergy between two generational lyricists.

“88” (2013)

Wale’s third studio album, The Gifted, is filled with soulful moments like “LoveHate Thing” and “Golden Salvation (Jesus Piece).” On a project that contains his biggest hit single, “88” is an undeniable gem that celebrates his successes and overall journey as an artist. Wale is often thoughtful and contemplative but revels in his stardom on this track. Over an epic Just Blaze-produced beat, Wale likens his run as a rapper to a 1988 Michael Jordan. The song acts as the album’s mission statement as he raps, “Now we at the top, MJ, ‘88, and I ain’t never comin’ down.”

“Poor Decisions” feat. Rick Ross & Lupe Fiasco (2013)

This deep cut from the 2013 Maybach Music Group compilation, Self Made 3, sees Wale recruiting Rick Ross and Lupe Fiasco for a song that displays each of their individual strengths. The track’s luxurious instrumental was practically made for Rick Ross as he floats over the beat and raps about young children who lack role models. Lupe Fiasco delivers a spectacular verse in true Lupe fashion, dropping double entendres and switching his flows. He may seem like an odd feature for an MMG compilation, but Lupe’s unique rhyme style fits the track perfectly. Wale slides across the beat, spitting about concerns for his generation. On “Poor Decisions,” each artist showcases their unique rhyme style while letting each other shine.

“The Girls On Drugs” (2014)

“The Girls On Drugs” is an underrated moment from both Wale’s Festivus mixtape and The Album About Nothing. Over a heavenly Janet Jackson-sampling instrumental, Wale speaks to girls who turn to substances to cope with mental and emotional traumas. In his first verse, he shares a first-hand experience about seeing a girl take drugs before delving into the root of the mental struggles that fuel substance abuse. He raps, “Nothing fills the void of a little pill / A little shot, she ain’t shy when the liquor spill / And it’s hard to feel alive when you’re feeling dead inside.” On the chorus, Wale croons that the girls on drugs “still need love,” adding a positive message to one of his most powerful and underrated songs.

“The God Smile” (2015)

Wale’s discography consists of many spiritual moments. “The God Smile” is one of his best and most underrated tracks, where he finds God within himself. “Go shine your light on me,” he exclaims in the chorus, with the feeling that God channels purpose into Wale to spread a message with his music. He depicts hardships in his verses but pushes those struggling to persevere. He raps, “I write thoughts and put ’em in songs / And the devil around the corner / It’s all good cause the God is livin’ in you.” “The God Smile” is a positive song about Wale’s personal faith that encourages listeners to steer clear of negativity.

“Groundhog Day” (2016)

In 2016, J. Cole’s “False Prophets” turned heads when he aimed shots at Kanye West and rappers who are assisted by ghostwriters. The song also notably discussed insecure rappers, including Cole himself. Many felt that some lyrics were directed towards Wale, including the DC rapper, who felt compelled to respond. Wale’s “Groundhog Day” refers to some of the lines on “False Prophets” as a response, not a diss. He discusses his place in hip hop as an underrated rapper while reminiscing about opening for JAY-Z with Cole. Wale also discusses his relationships with other rappers like Kid Cudi and shouts out J. Cole at the end of the song. “Groundhog Day” is one of Wale’s most underrated songs and verses in his catalog. Rick Ross eventually recycled the song’s instrumental for his 2019 track, “Turnpike Ike.” 

“Fluctuate” (2021)

Wale has remained consistent throughout his career, but the love and hate from the masses have certainly wavered over time. A highlight from his latest album, Folarin II, he reminds listeners that the love and hate will change, cautioning them that “you gon’ question who you trust when that paper fluctuate.” As a veteran in hip hop, Wale speaks from lived experiences, differentiating close relationships from fake beefs. “Fluctuate” acts as a reminder that Wale is still actively releasing quality music and continues to do so with his latest single.

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