With a spot on Entertainment Weekly's “8 to Watch in 08” and Ann Powers' SXSW rave in the LA Times, the Wale hype is getting pretty loud, yet it exists for good reason. After all, how many young guns can go toe-to-toe with Bun B and Pusha-T? Not to say he's quite there yet. From this angle, Bun-B wins the battle royal, continuing the rampage he's been on in the aftermath of Pimp's C's death. Meanwhile, Pusha delivers a pretty great 16 in his own right. But Wale holds his own, sounding like Kanye if Kanye was actually a great rapper. Indeed, between Wale, Jay Electronica, The Knux, Cool Kids, Clean Guns, Blu & others, the next generation is clearly bubbling. Coupled with fact that the 90s vets finally sound interested in making music again, the hip-hop is dead arguments of '06 seem, well, dead.