Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: Gucci Mane, Kanye West, Lady GaGa, Releases of the Week, Seinfeld, Wale
PREVIEW: VISIT Wale’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 15/20 Watts
With an entire mixtape inspired by Seinfeld, and his own brand of not-quite-conventional hip-hop, DC-based rapper Wale already made a splash even before releasing his first studio album. Leaning heavily on soul, jazz and funk samples, along with a bevy of pop-culture references, one would assume Attention Deficit to be one of the year’s most interesting and unique hip-hop releases. Unfortunately, however, this does not come to be.
As much as Attention Deficit accomplishes the intriguing blend of jazz, R&B and rap that Wale sets out to achieve at the onset, listeners will note rather quickly that the effort just lacks direction. For every song like opener “Triumph” and its successor “Mama Told Me,” that possess a musical fortitude much advanced of such a young artist, you run into songs like “World Tour” and “Let It Loose.” It’s not that both tracks are terrible, but outside influences are far too apparent. The former actually sounds like a Kanye West cover, something that doesn’t bode well for the album’s overall vibe.
Departing from that, Wale not only shows an aptitude for your standard radio hip-hop, but some emotional R&B as well. Already fan-favorites, “Chillin'” and “Pretty Girls,” which feature Lady Gaga and Gucci Mane respectively, are fast-paced and catchy jams sure to attract more attention after the album’s release. On the flip side, “Diary” and “Beautiful Bliss” reveal an emotional artist, with a depth so contrary to ideals purported on other portions of the record, it becomes hard to believe both can coexist.
Attention Deficit doesn’t fail, as much as it simply frustrates listeners. Inconsistent and sporadic, it seems to lack a central theme, and refuses to make a decision as to which sound to embrace. The softer tracks vie for attention amidst the braggadocio with little success at first listen, and can seem out of place in contrast.
However, the record does leave a ton of room for improvement. Wale’s ability to successfully execute a multitude of styles of rap opens the door for a lot more opportunities in his future. Once he makes a decision as to the type of artist he’d like to be, chances are that future will be decidedly bright.
— John Cassillo