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Rapper Wale dropped his debut album, Attention Deficit, on Nov. 10, but as of Dec. 8, he’s only moved 47,000 units—-an undeniable anticlimax for an MC the Washington Post called “the Great Rap Hope” two years ago. In our Music in Review issue, Andrew Noz looks at what the sputtering of the Wale phenomenon means to the District’s hip-hop community. He writes:

Artists don’t break cities; cities break artists. Too Short drained the swamp in Oakland after years of hustling tapes locally. No Limit Records made New Orleans explode with a roster of hometown-hardened superstars. These acts were selling hundreds of thousands of records before they got on MTV. Wale’s D.C. following was minor at best. Many of the city’s rap listeners were completely unaware of his existence prior to the above-ground buzz onslaught. That they now know his name doesn’t instill the sort of loyalty that a true homegrown star creates. The support is there, perhaps, but not fandom.

Read the full essay here.