“Everybody knows the Wale saga," the D.C.-born rapper once explained. "The guy that got close and something happened.” That might seem like a crude explanation, but it was an accurate one—until yeseterday, when he found himself nestled just behind Justin Bieber on the pop charts.

Back when Wale Victor Folarin first started getting national attention in 2007, he came with a style all his own and seemed destined for greatness. But then something happened: He dropped a flop of a debut album, 2009's Attention Deficit, and his career seemed like it could be a lost cause.

But Wale caught his second wind earlier this year in the form of a new record deal with Rick Ross and his Maybach Music Group. Lucky for us, Wale didn’t let the opportunity for a career resurrection go to waste. He hit the studio, got back to work, and last week he dropped his well-received sophomore album, Ambition.

With his first week numbers just in—a much improved 163,000+ sold—we figured it was the perfect time to offer a recap of Wale’s career arc and reviewe just how he got to where he’s at. Aspiring rappers take note: it's not whether you get knocked down, it's how you get back up that counts.

Written by Julian Pereira (@Broadway_Jay)