For the first time in recent memory, no album has confused me quite as much as the recent leak of Wale’s highly anticipated debut, “Attention Deficit” has. After impressive mixtape/albums such as “100 Miles & Running” and the Seinfeld-themed “The Mixtape About Nothing” (which was easily one of 2008′s finest albums), it’s safe to say that Wale’s Interscope debut is and has been one of the more anticipated/hyped releases of 2009 . I mean really, think about it, the aforementioned mixtapes were some of the top albums during the respective years of their release, which is one reason I’m left scratching my dome after listening to “Attention: Deficit” on numerous occasions the past few days or so. Not really “overground” and not truly “underground” (at least, nowadays) either, Wale walks the same fine-line as mainstream acts such as Jadakiss, Jay-Z and in some Lil’ Wayne do, a radio friendly artist with street credibility.
Let me get this out of the way…the album is not “wack” by any means….PERIOD! So please, read the following statements with an open mind and try to appreciate my honesty. First, the album and all things related to it’s release soured for me with the release of the Lady Gaga (WTF?) assisted single “Chillin”. Yes Wale, I get it….this was your “radio” hit, or lack thereof. “Chillin” was also a valiant attempt to “get your name out there” to the popular media and establish a valid “push” for the release of “Attention..” So again, I GET IT! However, I figured this would be the last of that nonsense only to be let down once again with the Gucci Maine (again, WTF?) “Pretty Girls”. I mean, c’mon this is not the Wale that I first heard on “100 Miles…” and “The Mixtape About..”, not even remotely close to it. Then, you have “World Tour”, similar to “Chillin” is once again produced by Cool and Dre. Excuse me for being so blunt, but Cool and Dre stopped being “hot” after Game and 50′s “Hate It Or Love It”, I just don’t know what kinda’ “production tip” those cats are on anymore. Featuring a Jazmine Sullivan (SHE’s gotta’ a super dope voice though) belted hook , “World Tour” is straight up filler, make no bones about it…nothing less, nothing more. Gotdamn!! I wanna’ like this album ya’ll, I really do! Wale has, for the last few years been one of the dopest cats in Hip Hop and he’s one of a few acts that have really paved the way for a true recognition of the talent that has and continues to emerge from the DMV. I mean, dude had a big year, he played the damn MTV awards!! I just can’t grasp the concept of the album, there’s really format, no cohesiveness. I don’t know, but this album sounds like typical “label politics” to me, as I’m sure some of the more “street” and less “radio friendly” tracks are left on the cutting room floor. I just really expecting BIG THINGS from “Attention Deficit”, not a half-assed, lukewarm debut…even though it’s not really a debut, per se. Oh, and how could I possibly forget “90210″? For the sake of my admiration of Wale’s prior work, I’d rather leave my comments regarding this track to the imagination.
Now, for the somewhat good: “Shades” (f. Chrisette Michelle) a track that finds Wale at his most sincere, addressing his youth being of the darker shade with immigrant parents over a subtle Best Kept Secret (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it..right?) production, is perhaps the highlight of the album. While the theme of “R & B hooks” continues with the Marsha Ambrosious (damn, this chick needs to drop a solo joint..yesterday!)-featured….and I do mean featured “Diary”, it’s still one of the album’s more honest moments but it’s still not that classic Wale that I’m searching for. “Mama Told Me”, “Mirrors” (f. Bun B) and the album’s finale, “Prescription” are all decent tracks, but if there’s one thing that “Attention Deficit” is lacking, it’s a true banger. Nothing on the album has nudged me to hit the rewind or repeat button as of yet, at least thus far. Even the crafty Neptunes production “Let It Loose” is destroyed by a HORRID hook courtesy of Pharrell. Quite honestly my favorite track from the album, the haunting “Contemplate” (which features a Rihanna-like hook, I don’t see a credit for the hook, maybe it is her?) won’t even make my “Most Played For The Week”, on the basis of it’s quality when compared to tracks like Blue Sky Black Death remix (and the best usage of “Funky Worm” that I’ve EVER heard) of Cunninlynguists “The Park” (which appears on the insane “Strange Journey Volume Two”)
Damn, I really find it amazing that Wale (or Interscope) would let this album slide, especially after his two prior efforts. “Attention Deficit” is straight up radio, point blank, this album is a shell of the Wale that real heads know. Damn….Damn…Damn…(shakes head), excuse me while I upload “100 Miles..” and “The Mixtape About Nothing” to my Iphone once again and delete “Attention Deficit” from the “Recently Added” playlist. C’mon Wale, what happened? Damn…