Wale – Attention Deficit
4 stars out of 5
I got to tell you, there’s nothing bad or off-color I can say about this album. It is SOLID. One of the most solid, sturdy Hip-hop releases through and through to come out in the past couple of years. I may rile some nerves with this, but I can see myself listening to Wale’s Attention Deficit a couple of years from now more than I’d be listening to Blueprint 3…
While Jay-Z has taken to the skies & synths with his BRAND of hip-hop, Wale comes in with a fresh sound rooted in lush instrumentation, organic feelings sounds and samples and straight up talent. Attention Deficit from jump gets your attention, and is sequenced so well that it holds you through all 14-odd tracks.
It’s a great mix of Wale’s metaphors and the excellent musical backdrops meshing together to craft an effortless listening experience. His flow adapts from the go-go influenced music of his DC area on “Pretty Girls”, to Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio’s punctuated horns meets synth hip-hop production on “Triumph”. He nimbly fits in amongst powerhouse vocalists such as Jazmine Sullivan, Chrisette Michelle and Marsha Ambrosius on “World Tour”, “Shades” and “Diary”, respectively. Wale commands the mic at every turn, despite the features. No one outshines him on his own tracks. A well sequenced album is worth its weight in gold!
There are a few tracks that seem altered or tacked on for sheer crossover appeal though — such as the Pharrell-assited “Let It Loose” and the Lady GaGa featured “Chillin'”. “Chillin'”, despite the fact that it is the only sore thumb that sticks out, in the context of the album it isn’t THAT bad. “Beautiful Bliss” features a recycled J. Cole verse from one of his mixtapes, but the mellifluous Melanie Fiona holds it down as well. Oh and don’t forget about tacking Gucci Mane on to “Pretty Girls” (minus 2 stars!!).
Overall, I have no qualms about suggesting that you get this album. See past the hype and see Wale’s passion that oozes out of every track. Hear his wit, his thorough approach to sharing his stories instead of one-liners and the sheer musicality of the musicscapes via his talented bevy of producers (Syience, Mark Ronson, Best Kept Secret). You’ll enjoy it. A solid album from a new promising hip-hop artist finally getting his shine. Catch him on tour with Jay-Z and others…
Oh and I live for the parts when Wale gets all Def Poetry Jam…so dope. Cop yours!