“I am hip hop: past, present and future” is a bold proclamation from rising talent, Wale. 2009 has been a whirlwind year for the 25 year old D.C. rapper. He will be named GQ Man of the Year (alongside Kid Cudi & Drake) and is the opening act on Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 Tour. In the midst of all of this hype, Wale is releasing his debut LP – Attention Deficit. Although he has 5 mixtapes under his belt, Attention Deficit is Wale’s first studio effort.
Throughout the album, Wale manages to strike a perfect balance between conscious rap & witty lyrics. He taps into his boastful side on “Chillin’” and in “Mirrors” he asks, “Mirror mirror on the wall who’s the realest of them all?”
With the help of Marsha Ambrosius & a whimsical beat, Wale’s “Diary” speaks about girls whose emotional wounds are roadblocks to accepting love. On “90210,” Wale raps about “the regular girl with celebrity dreams” who has fallen prey to the pressures of Hollywood. “Shades” delves into Wale’s own insecurity & resentment towards intraracial issues on skin complexion. A soulful Chrisette Michele assuages his sentiments, singing “Shade doesn’t matter. Heart makes the lover. Boy you’re so beautiful.”
Although there is no official D.C anthem on the album, it seems like Wale is trying to put D.C. on the music map. He makes multiple references to the nation’s capital not only through his lyrics, but by infusing D.C. area go-go music on “Pretty Girls.”
Wale closes out the album with “Prescription” and suggests that he is the prescription for the void in the state of hip-hop. Despite its name, Attention Deficit is an album that will grab your attention and force you to listen from beginning to end. Articulate storytelling combined with funk and jazz production give this debut a classic sound. Wale has a penchant for saying his name and by the the end of the album you should know how to pronounce it. If not, remember “they keep saying ‘whale’ but my name Wah-lay.”
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