Thursday, November 19, 2009

Album Review: Wale - Attention Deficit

Does this really need an introduction? If you’ve been anywhere near a radio for the last year, you’ve heard of Wale. He’s generated a strong buzz (he was the house performer at the VMAs, after all), and many have been waiting on this album. But is he worth the hype? To the highs and lows we go.


As one might expect, Wale comes out the box swingin’ with the first track, entitled “Triumph.” Produced by David Sitek, the beat has a military feel to it, featuring an addictive horn section, echoed, dramatic drums, and background percussion. Wale’s swagger and clever flow are demonstrated in the first verse, which he concludes with the following: “Always knew where the pot was, with no receivers had to pick another option, Tommy Frazier on the motha fuckin 1 and 2s, or Michael Vick, if ya’ll bark, homie ya’ll through.”

The second track is one of the best on the album, entitled “Mama Told Me.” Produced by The Best Kept Secret, the beat features a dramatic string/horn sample and perfectly-placed percussion that give it an anthem feel. Wale spits the “struggle to success” verses that you’d expect to hear on a debut album, and he does it properly, letting you know that he’s arrived and here to stay.

Another nice joint is “Beautiful Bliss,” produced by DJ Green Lantern and Mark Ronson. The beat features a well-known string sample (you might have heard it on Lupe Fiasco’s Theme Music To A Drive-By), chorus vocals from Melanie Fiona, and a verse from another very promising newcomer who is everywhere these days, J Cole. Wale’s verses are consistently dope, but to be honest, J Cole steals the track with his performance. This is a must-hear.

Other noteworthy additions include the well-known singles “Chillin,” featuring Lady Gaga (produced by Cool and Dre), “Pretty Girls” featuring Gucci Mane (produced by Best Kept Secret), and “World Tour” featuring Jazmine Sullivan (produced by Cool and Dre).


There are only a couple knocks I have on this album. The first involves “Let It Loose,” a track produced by The Neptunes. To be honest, I typically like anything done by the Neptunes or Pharrell; they usually capture an alien-like sound that no one else can come close to duplicating. However, the production here isn’t their best effort; it seems like this beat was a throw away from the last Clipse album. Usually their production is unique, but polished. Here, it seems sloppy. Compare it to the Neptunes beat Lupe got on his debut album, and you’ll hear a distinct difference.

The second thing to note is that this a guest-heavy project. Normally this isn’t a problem, but its not what I’d want to see on a debut album. This LP is Wale’s introduction, and when there are guest performances on every other track, it sounds more like a compilation. Only established artists can appropriately have 5 or 6 guest appearances; we know what they are capable of and what to expect. While Wale is talented and has a decent following, he’s not on that level just yet.


To be clear, Attention Deficit is a good album. The production is impressive, and although Wale had a ton of hype to live up to (that will happen when you drop a track like “Nike Boots” ), this album still managed to impress. The man definitely has skill, and his presence on the mic is undeniable; he certainly shows promise. This album will leave you anticipating his second installment.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

- JB

No comments:

Post a Comment