Wale
Attention Deficit


3.5
great

Review

by Sobhi Youssef EMERITUS
November 14th, 2009 | 44 replies | 14,307 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A successful, albeit uneven major label debut.

Self-proclaimed as one of the best rappers in the blogosphere, Wale has had critics pining for his debut for almost a year now. After the unique Seinfeld-themed, Michael Richards-fueled A Mixtape About Nothing and feature spot on The Roots' Rising Down last year, his respective hype locomotive magnified in size by an incredible order of magnitude; it's impressive that a hip-hop artist can grow near-exponentially from relative DMV (DC/MD/VA) no-name to burgeoning mainstream pop-rap star. This growth isn't quite unfounded, however - Wale is a consistently excellent lyricist bolstered by his pop culture-laden punchlines. Attention: Deficit aptly explores his multi-faceted personality - be it a conscious bent or mainstream appeal.

But this ADHD proclamation acts as a detractor as much as a boon to the LP's credibility: the production here, while expertly handled for the most part, is uneven. Cool & Dre's glorified future-hop in hit single "Chillin'" contrasts so much, in fact, that it feels like a completely different record from Dave Sitek-produced (of TV on the Radio fame) "Triumph". Both tracks feature respectable beat tracks, yet one can't help but wonder what they're doing on the same album. Regardless, after "Triumph"'s bombastic, soulful intro it becomes readily apparent that Attention: Deficit offers a sampling flight of excellent modern production trends. Mark Ronson has a great showing with the 8-bit sampling and traditional boom bap of "90210" and "Beautiful Bliss", respectively, while really melding well with Bun B's trademark flow in "Mirrors". Overall, the production credits are impressive without overpowering the performers.

Surprisingly enough, Wale's who's-who of current trends in the mainstream and underground doesn't devolve A:D into a name-dropping carnival or out-performing feature fest. The guest vocalists complement the compositions well, especially with names like Pharrell, Lady GaGa, and Rihanna. The only time Wale is truly out-shined is on "Beautiful Bliss" by J. Cole (who robs the spotlight so thoroughly that this almost sounds like J. Cole featuring Wale) - which is perfectly acceptable considering how admirably Wale performs throughout. There are only a few, but the primary lyrical disappointments come in the shape of "TV in the Radio" with K'Naan's pedestrian verse/chorus/what-have-you, Gucci Mane's uninspired brrr-ing, and some of the unnecessary spoken soliloquy-like passages throughout. Otherwise, Wale's penchant for pop-culture-oriented, creative punchlines and uncanny ability to straddle the line between conscious and pop-bent lyricism is impressive.

Overall, Attention: Deficit should be considered a successful debut, albeit mildly uneven. Being a major label debut (Interscope), this multi-directional approach is definitely indicative of marketing uneasiness, and hopefully it'll be sorted out for Wale's sophomore release. After recovering from some very disappointing mixtape follow-up LPs this year, it's refreshing to see an artist enact quality control standards based upon mixtape reception and release a truly professional product.



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user ratings (79)
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3.3
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Comments:Add a Comment 
kingsoby1
Emeritus
November 14th 2009



4830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

solid record will be on my end of year list

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins®

klap
Staff Reviewer
November 14th 2009



10003 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

end of year? bold!!! but great nonetheless. saw him at my fraternity's charity concert, actually shook the man's hand. he was supremely fucked up lol. great concert though

Kyle
November 14th 2009



667 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah this is a solid 3.5 for me, your review pretty much sums it up. I'll be interested to see what he comes up with next.

scotish
November 14th 2009



835 Comments


'A successful, albeit uneven major label label debut.'

I take it saying label twice was a mistake?
will have a proper read through this later.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
November 14th 2009



4830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

also to my invisible heckler... yes this is better than both brother ali and royce

thx scotish

AggravatedYeti
November 14th 2009



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this dude is alright, I'm streaming this now. A Mixtape About Nothing was pretty sweet, figure I should give a spin.

PatchworkNeurology
November 14th 2009



352 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

B.o.B aka Bobby Ray is better than this clown.
Not that i'm completely hate'n on Wale, just B.o.B./BobbyRay
has more X factor and he experiements and pushes his
musical points farther and farther.

Still an alright cd by the man Wale.

shortz
November 14th 2009



201 Comments


Really enjoy this, good review. I agree with the point about Chillin' and Triumph.

Fuff24
November 14th 2009



1117 Comments


might want to get this. Chllin is pretty okay, although the lady gaga hook is hella annyoin. I like triumph though.

AtavanHalen
November 15th 2009



17927 Comments


I really like Chillin for GaGa especially.

Sitek's on this? Now I HAVE to hear it.

klap
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2009



10003 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

90201 is the best

kingsoby1
Emeritus
November 15th 2009



4830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ya sick track

AtavanHalen
November 15th 2009



17927 Comments


PEOPLE CALL ME WAIL BUT MAH NAME WAH LEY

kingsoby1
Emeritus
November 15th 2009



4830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you'll prob like this. you should tune in to my next review... slug and murs on felt 3... really tight (and surprising that i like it considering my disposition towards each of their solo efforts). aes rock handles the production.

AtavanHalen
November 15th 2009



17927 Comments


Holy cow; Slug AND Aesop Rock. Get me on an elevator because I am SO down

HenchmanOfSanta
November 15th 2009



1660 Comments


So between this, Royce and Gucci Mane, which debut was most hyped and which one most lived up to it?

cirq
November 15th 2009



9257 Comments


damn, i want this

Roach
November 15th 2009



2149 Comments


the best thing about this album is Lady GaGa. Some pretty tight beats but by the end of the album I kinda zoned out.

Awesomesauce
November 15th 2009



1083 Comments


Not too bad. Although anything associated with Mark 'this needs more horn section' Ronson automaticly loses points.

cbmartinez
November 16th 2009



2525 Comments


sitek's tracks are kind of disappointing, I still haven't heard this whole thing but chillin was one of the year's best singles and mixtape about nothing and 100 miles and runnin are great



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