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Music Review: Wale – Attention Deficit

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I grew up in the Washington DC area so I was excited to see a rapper from DC make an impact on the national scene. On Attention Deficit, Wale offers an excellent Hip Hop album that balances braggadocios material with the conscious rap sub genre. Wale keeps it fun with witty rhymes including references to Pop culture, Perez Hilton, Facebook, and the like.

The album’s lead single, “Chillin” samples the classic “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam with great success. It turns the classic track into a catchy club song with vocals from Lady Gaga.

On “Pretty Girls”, Wale incorporates the Go-go music Washington DC is known for. It’s not only an homage to his hometown it’s also one of the album’s best tracks. Hopefully, the track will help connect the sometimes disparate fans of hip hop and Go-go. “Pretty Girls” features the Backyard Band’s Gucci Mane and Weensy.

There are more nods to regionalism as Virginia-born superstar producers the Neptunes provide the production for “Let It Loose”. It’s an average track for the Neptunes, but I was excited to see them team up as I’m a big fan of their work.

“Shades” is a very personal track where Wale talks about how the different skin tones within the African American community can affect your social status. As a darker skinned brother Wale shares the hard ships he faced with his negative self image as the chorus proclaims that all shades are beautiful.

The Mark Ronson-produced “90210” is like a cautionary tale meets slice of life story of an anorexic girl trying to become a star in Hollywood. It’s another good track with some unfamiliar subject matter for the genre. It serves as a reminder that Wale is his own artist with his own brand of hip hop.

Attention Deficit is an accessible, well-produced, hip hop album driven by Wale’s strong lyrical skills and some socially conscious lyrics. Great guest musicians like Somali-born rapper K’Naan, Rihanna, Chrisette Michelle, and Bun B add to the album’s depth without taking the spotlight from Wale. I recommend it to Hip Hop fans as it’s one of the best rap albums I’ve heard in a while.

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