Wale's fifth studio album, SHINE, was originally slated for release on May 5—the same day Logic releasedEverybody—but nine days before the scheduled date, the MMG emcee (and his label) decided to move up the drop date to April 28. Unfortunately, that plan didn't pay off as the LP sold a mere 25k SPS equivalent album units in its first week.
On Monday (May 8), Wale joined Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks on Episode 117 of their daily YouTube show Everyday Struggle and put his low first-week sales squarely on his own shoulders.
"I don't think I created enough awareness that I should have," said Wale.
Wale went on to acknowledge the perceived difficulty that established artists face when competing in the open marketplace with "brand spanking new" artists. That argument, however, doesn't hold much weight when you look at the track record of many of Wale's peers over the past seven years. Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and even Logic—artists who rose to stardom over the same period of time as Wale—have all seen their first-week sales total increase with each subsequent release.
"You know, when you're not brand spanking new, when you're not the newest girl in school, there's a certain aura that you carry when you're new. It's hard to maintain that jaunt. I don't want to embarrass nobody, but let's look at a lot of the artists from the south, from the east, from the west that, since my freshman cover, that you no longer see. Not the freshman [selections], but artists in general. People come and go. And I put it on me, I don't put it on Atlantic or nobody. I didn't create the awareness. We tried to do some media, we tried to do Ellen, we tried to do SNL, I feel like I deserve those opportunities, but I didn't get it."
Given Ellen and SNL's propensity to invite rappers onto their respective programs, it's somewhat surprising Wale was turned down for both programs. Much like his sales total, though, this could be the result of his new music simply not connecting with people. Ironically, Wale made SHINE with the intention of appealing to a more mainstream, global audience.