24. Wale f/ Sam Dew "LoveHate Thing"
Album: The Gifted
Producer: Tone P, Stokley Williams,Sam Dew
Label: Maybach Music,Atlantic
It's easy to strip Wale down to his flaws, but at this point, you can't take his success away from him. Despite becoming a millionaire and earning a Grammy nomination, the beleaguered rapper remains haunted by a fear of having everything he's worked so hard for slip away. He addresses this on the soulful "LoveHate Thing," which is clearly inspired by another D.C. native son—the legendary Marvin Gaye.
This isn't new territory for Wale, but it fits the theme of The Gifted perfectly—an artist coming to grips with the price of fame, yet still struggling to adjust to it. One who's put his heart and soul into something, without that love being reciprocated. It's about his experience in the music industry, and also his relationship with his hometown. The song is an ode to that mutual love-hate relationship, but where Wale usually comes off defensive, he now simply sounds jaded: "You made me what I am, you made me what I'm not/They gon' love you a little different when you're at the top." It's tough to swallow, but he finally seems to be accepting it. —Julian Kimble