Album Review: Wale - Attention Deficit

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 2:44 PM

Artist: Wale
Album: Attention Deficit
Release Date: 11.10.09

Hailing from the nation’s capital where very few music artists have made it into the spotlight, Wale steps forth with his debut album Attention Deficit. Although he was introduced to mainstream with the pop music smash Chillin (featuring Lady Gaga), this album reveals the DMV-spitter as a true student of hip-hop. The project sees quite a bit of versatility: from party songs, to message-bearing anthems, to thought-provoking songs of introspection and reflection.

Exposing his roots in the go-go music style, Wale parties hard on the album’s latest single Pretty Girls, with vocals from Weensey of the Backyard Band. Pharrell lends a beat to keep the party moving on the feel-good Let It Loose and he teams up with Jazmin Sullivan on the high-spirited World Tour. It’s also commendable that Wale uses his debut album to highlight issues of self-esteem in such a bold manner on tracks like 90210 and Shades which features Chrisette Michele. Mark Ronson produced 90210, which speaks on topics of bulimia and drug addictions, while Shades reflects on Wale’s issues with his own image and skin tone: “cheated on light skinned Dominique when we was 17. I figured I’d hurt her, she’d evidently hurt me…” And yet, his words of inspiration are somewhat contradicted in the aforementioned Pretty Girls as he chants “Ugly girls be quiet, pretty girls clap-clap like this…” Still the album is well-put together, with songs like World Tour, Prescription and the feel-good anthem Beautiful Bliss as easy favorites. Marsha Ambrosius lends her vocals to Diary, a more solemn look at a woman’s inability to move through past hurts: “Every problem that you ever had with another man, I gotta face...”

Lyrically Wale pulls off a few sporadic one-liners and metaphors but for the most part his rhymes, though witty at times, aren't impressively complex, if at all. That lack of ferocity stands out most on tracks like Mirrors (feat. Bun B) and Beautiful Bliss (feat J. Cole) where he’s outdone by the guests on his project. It’s also hard to listen to this album and not feel the undertones of resentment. With an almost Kanye-esque arrogance, Wale goes after his hip-hop counterparts on TV In The Radio, hometown detractors on Mama Told Me, and misguided females on Contemplate. These lyrical tirades reveal a man in touch with his emotions – but then again, Wale’s Twitter timeline could tell you that…

Attention Deficit doesn’t present him as the best lyrical rapper, but the content and delivery on this project make it worth the listen. Just from listening to his mixtapes, it’s clear that Wale has come a long way and represents a part of hip-hop that has been replaced as of late with songs that have a surplus of bitches and bling but a deficiency of substantial content. This is a return to reality for the casual hip-hop fan and is music that’s easy to relate to. Attention Deficit may not be a classic but it’s a solid debut and despite its title, I’m certain that it won’t see a shortage of acclaim…

Sound-Savvy rates Attention Deficit with 3.5 out of 5 platinum headphones.

1 Comment

  1. Sincere Said,

    I love this album! been listening to it non stop since I got it. Great review!! Mine is scheduled for 11/09. I agree on the Kanye esque style, that came across to me as well. I think he did well for a debut album. He tackles a bunch of different issues on this album. Seems like he went harder on the mixtapes than this album though.

    Posted on November 5, 2009 at 10:02 PM


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