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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wale – Attention: Deficit album review

After years of putting out critically acclaimed free mixtpaes, DC rapper Wale, has finally put out an official album (Technically the cd is out Nov. 10, but it leaked). For everyone who deosn’t know, here’s Wale in a nutshell: DC rapper, who combines rap and elements of DC go-go music, who was signed to the record label of Grammy-Winning producer Mark Ronson. In the past many publications have compared him as a combination of Lupe Fiasco and Lil Wayne, which really is accurate, but this album proves he is more original than that.
Just as his mixtapes, Wale is most at home when he is backed by ornate production, which the album is full of. Almost all of the songs are full of energetic horns, percussion, hand claps, and the occasional synthesizer. The album contains production from Ronson, as well as, the Neptunes, Green Lantern, 9th Wonder, and Cool and Dre. If you think the production variety is big, then see the guest list; Bun B, Lady Gaga, Pharrell, Chrisette Michele, Jazmine Sullivan, K’Naanm J. Cole, and the man, the myth…Gucci Mane (and others). Usually when debut artists have this much production and guest vocals, it usually is a way to hide the lack of talent of the artist, but Wale definitely holds his own. Tracks like “Momma Told Me”, “Mirrors” , and “Beautiful Bliss” show Wale’s lyricism, while “90210”, “Diary”, and “World Tour” give the listener a taste of his ability to tell a story.
Attention: Deficit’s does have drawbacks, as does every ambitious debut. At times the production can be a little to overpowering for the rookie MC, and you may find yourself listening to the beat, rather than Wale. Also, not all of the guests work well with Wale. Lead single “Chillin’” is clearly one of the weaker songs, with weak lyrics and Lady Gaga doing her best M.I.A. impression. Obviously the point of making this a single was to capitalize off of the pop singer’s fame (no pun intended). Also, Pharrell’s contribution “Inhibitions” falls short of expectations. On the other hand, Bun B and K’Naan’s appearances on “Mirrors” and “TV in the Radio” respectively upstage Wale’s efforts. The best collaborations come from 2nd single “Pretty Girls” (Feat. Gucci Mane) and “Beautiful Bliss” (Feat. J. Cole and Melanie Fiona). On these two, Wale is complemented, and the results are pretty great. In all, the album is a very good listen and has my pick of rap debut of the year. It shattered my already high expectations, despite a few missteps and, turned out to be a great foot to officially start a career on.

8.5/10: Listen to: “Pretty Girls”, “Beautiful Biss”, “Momma Told Me”, and “90210”
Avoid: “Chillin’” and “Inhibitions (Let Loose)”