Monday, 9 November 2009

Wale - Attention Deficit Review

Posted by Tahirah

Wale's debut album Attention Deficit is available from tomorrow November 10th

I've been beating this in my earphones for the last couple of days so I could review it for SoulCulture. With only one or two tunes I weren't feeling, the album is solid and will definitely stay in rotation...full review UNDER THE CUT

Three years and five mixtapes into his career, Wale's debut album, Attention Deficit isn't offered as an introduction to Olubowale 'Wale' Folarin – instead, it seems to be announcing that he's always been here and you've only just caught up.

Named one of XXL Magazine's Hip Hop Freshmen of 09, Wale's over-confidence in his position as a leader in contemporary hip-hop's new movement isn't baseless. “I asked Mr West for a little bit of help...” Wale raps on the energetic opening track, “Triumph”. Of course, Kanye West isn't the only musical powerhouse behind Wale; he is in company with Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams and label-boss Mark Ronson. However, on “Triumph” and closing cut, “Prescription” Wale seeks respect from his audience based off of his own merit.

Throughout the rest of the album, Wale is seemingly content with showcasing his talent as part of a joint effort. With artists featured alongside him on ten out of the thirteen tracks and production from The Neptunes, DJ Green Lantern, 9th Wonder and Mark Ronson on Attention Deficit can feel somewhat like Wale is presenting a record of duets, but fortunately most of the collaborations work very well.

Some of the strongest features are Marsha Ambrosius' beautiful vocal that adds emotive colour to Wale's tale of relationship woes on “Diary”, Melanie Fiona and J. Cole on “Beautiful Bliss” and “TV In The Radio” featuring K'naan. Other pairings brought little to the record; Gucci Mane's addition to “Pretty Girls”, a track that was leaked online sans his guest verse a while ago – actually detracts from the song.

Lyrically Wale skirts effortlessly between frivolous subject-matter (“Chillin”, “Pretty Girls”, “Let It Loose”) and deeper issues including faux-celebrity lifestyle on “90210” and inter-black prejudice on “Shades”. Set against a diverse musical backdrop (aside from The Neptunes and Ronson productions which are instantly recognisable) spanning soul, funk, DC Go-Go beats, Wale succeeds in re-affirming his arrival with Attention Deficit.

N.B - if you haven't heard it already, it's definitely worth downloading Wale's mixtape Back To The Feature too.