Wale- Attention Deficit

After a decade long romp in the underground mixtape scene, Wale has finally released his first full length album, Attention Deficit on Interscope Records. A star-studded affair, Wale's freshman release is a promising hip hop album, carefully balancing smooth beats with poetic lyrics. The hip hop industry really came to Wale's support on the album, as Attention Deficit features collaboration from Bun B, Lady Gaga, J. Cole, Knaan, Gucci Mane, Pharrell and several other prominent artists.

"Chillin", the first single from the album, has already seen considerable play time on pop radio stations, a sure-fire byproduct of having the ever-controversial Lady Gaga on background vocals. Sampling "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam, Cool & Dre cooked up a catchy beat that fits the dynamic of Wale's flow and Lady Gaga's serene voice.

Wale is at his best on the most up-tempo songs on Attention Deficit. His go-go roots and subtle South African accent lend themselves to crafting a nifty hook on tracks like "TV on the Radio" and "Mirrors." While most artists use tiring gimmicks to make their music catchy, Wale's songs never come off as manufactured or soulless.

As a self-professed J. Cole fan, it comes as no surprise that "Beautiful Bliss" has quickly become my favorite track on Attention Deficit. According to his Twitter account, Wale wrote the song on the DC metro after he signed the mortgage to buy his first house. Composed around the uplifting vocals of Melanie Fiona, "Beautiful Bliss" radiates both Wale and J.Cole's passion for hip hop and personal expression. These two, along with former Degrassi star Drake, have been heralded as the "future of hip hop" for some time now, and this track may make many skeptics believers. J. Cole's verse is one of the best of 2009 as he ferociously spits "kick back and watch the sun set/kick back and know your son set/forever I ain't run yet/and never will/Nas told me life's a bitch/Pac told me fuck the world/And I ain't cum yet/You up yet?/My punchlines like gut-checks/I'm raw dog/I'm rough sex/I'm on deck/I'm up next/I'm God-blessed/I'm success/so fuck stress/You can get the fuck from round me/And if you're listening I know you're wondering where the fuck they found me/I'm from the Ville boy"

While the album does contain an endearing catchiness, there are several underwhelming songs on Attention Deficit. "Prescription" is an inherently boring listen, saved only by a Common-esque spoken word performance at the end of the track. "Shades" lacks the cunning play on words usually present in Wale tracks, consequently losing quite a bit of charm in the process. When I first found out Wale's first break out hit, "W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E." was not going to be included on Attention Deficit I wasn't too upset, however since several of the songs on the album are relatively disappointing, it's a shame that Wale's most recognizable song is missing on the track list.

Overall, Attention Deficit is a unique, creative expression of self and society, firmly influenced by the artist's roots. I'm personally looking forward to a prolific Wale career. Wale is currently on tour with Jay-Z, N.E.R.D., and J.Cole.

Review Score: 7.1/10

"Beautiful Bliss"

"Mirrors ft. Bun B"

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