Why Did Wale’s New Album “Shine” Flop?

Bad Music or Bad Marketing?

-Written by Vinny Guarino

So the numbers are in and….. not looking good for Wale, the veteran rapper from the DMV. His new album Shine is projected to sell about 22,000 copies which is QUITE lackluster for a project that was released by Atlantic Records and Maybach Music Group.

To be fair, music doesn’t sell like it used to, and 22k would probably be considered a success if we were talking about an independent artist working with a small budget. But just take a look at all the features on this thing. Here’s a few of the names: Chris Brown, Lil’ Wayne, G-Eazy, Major Lazer, Travis Scott, etc. That’s how you know there was definitely a lot of money invested in this one.

So what went wrong here?

To put it plainly — there was no build up or excitement to this album.

Even “the world’s busiest music nerd” Anthony Fantano had no idea this project was coming out and he listens to EVERYTHING that gets released.

In terms of singles, Wale released two songs that failed to garner much attention for the album — “My PYT” and “Running Back” feat. Lil Wayne. “My PYT” actually has 36 million views on YouTube, but it was released in July 2016 so it barely even feels like part of this project. The follow-up single “Running Back” dropped this January and was much less of a hit even with the Lil’ Wayne guest spot. My opinion is that both of these songs were mediocre and unexciting.

                                             A shot from the “Running Back” video.

                                             A shot from the “Running Back” video.

Aside from these two singles — I don’t remember seeing any type of content from Wale. No interviews, vlogs, memorable tweets, any publicity at all. I could be wrong but I think Mr “They gon’ love me for my ambition” might have been slackin’ a little bit on this one.

Interestingly enough, the music on Shine is pretty good. He has a lot of possible hits on there. I just think he is not doing much to get fans excited about his release. There was a discussion about this topic on Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks’ new show on ComplexTV where they debated who was at fault for the commercial failure. Akademiks made the point that Wale wasn’t focusing enough on his brand or promotion. On the other hand, Joe Budden argued that Wale made quality music, and that’s all he needs to do as a rapper. The label is supposed to take care of the rest in Budden’s opinion.

I was intrigued by this conversation so I dropped a comment on the video where I got into a small conversation with another YouTuber. Check it out:

The music industry is constantly changing and the promotion for an artist’s album is something that artists need to think about in addition to the actual music they produce if they want it to be as successful as possible. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t rely on record labels 100% because they seem to drop the ball so often.

Like I said before, this Wale project isn’t bad so go check it out if you get a chance. Some of the standouts include “Scarface Rozay Gotti,” “Fashion Week” feat. G-Eazy, and “Columbia Heights” feat. J Balvin.

As someone who has followed Wale’s career for a long time with varying interest, I hope the guy learns a lesson and comes back strong from this one. No shame in failing.