The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday January 20th

Music review: Attention Deficit

Wale, 'Attention Deficit'
Buy Photos Wale, 'Attention Deficit'

Wale, Attention Deficit, 3.5 of 5 stars

With his proper debut, Wale presents the epitome of an Internet-rap dilemma.

His debut features everything we’ve come to know and expect from the DC artist: the “indie” appeal, a go-go influence and the attempted reinjection of consciousness into mainstream hip-hop.

But where Wale once held the cards to become one of the first artists to break into a radio-friendly environment while preserving the artistic integrity he came to be known for on his mixtapes, the opportunity was simply missed.

Record executives were obviously at work when recruiting Lady Gaga for the hook on “Chillin’” and Gucci Mane for a verse on “Pretty Girls,” but those aren’t even the tracks that are an issue.

When listening to the entire album, however, there isn’t a moment in which you stop and wonder why Wale never broke out sooner.

There are songs fit to establish the D.C. rap scene. The Mark Ronson produced “Mirrors” features Bun B over an artfully arranged composition of whining horns and hi-hats. Both tracks produced by TV On The Radio’s David Sitek and the triumphant “Beautiful Bliss” with J. Cole also add to the standouts.

But it’s hard to overlook the absence of “Letter,” a guaranteed crossover hit featuring John Mayer that was left off. It doesn’t compute.

Wale has assembled an album that will appease the most ardent comment section ballbusters, yet it’s not quite accessible enough for casual hip-hop fans to fully comprehend and appreciate.

At least not with the cultural A.D.D. of our society.

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