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Attention Deficit

Wale

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Album Review

A quick-witted and diverse rapper able to deliver punch lines at breakneck speed, Washington, D.C.'s Wale debuted and then thrived in the underground mixtape world, releasing a handful of well-received full-lengths before getting to work on his official major-label debut. It's the reason why Attention Deficit had a cult following the day it arrived on shelves, but the unexpected advantage to this 21st century style of artist incubation is that the wide variety of producers (Mark Ronson, DJ Green Lantern, Cool & Dre, and others) and guest vocalists (Lady GaGa, Bun B, Gucci Mane, Pharrell, and more) are surprisingly in tune with this "newcomer," all obviously aware of his post-Kanye, post-Lil Wayne, alternative-meets-hardcore style. True to its title, the hyperactive album is filled with grand statements, provocative jokes, and busy productions, and yet, it's an accessible listen first time out, thanks mostly to Wale's natural delivery and quirky sense of humor. Take "Chillin," which crafts an instant floor-filler out of a sample from the '70s hit "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," guest star Lady GaGa acting as Rihanna to Wale's Jay-Z, plus a string of T-shirt worthy lines, best being "I remain a Giant and you Jeremy Shockey." Elsewhere it's the Nintendo-loving "I would invest in a poncho/'Cause I won't punch out like Glass Joe," but heavier topics like social commentary ("90210"), bittersweet sentimentality ("Diary"), and flat-out joy ("Beautiful Bliss") are all well within this talented rapper's grasp. The biggest complaint has to be that the early single "Nike Boots" is missing, but otherwise, this unique debut does not disappoint.

Biography

Born: 21 November 1984 in Washington, D.C.

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The self-proclaimed "Ambassador of Rap for the Capital," Wale (pronounced "wah-lay") was able to transcend his local sensation status and become a national rap contender using go-go-inspired hip-hop as the vehicle for his clever wordplay and music. Olubowale Victor Akintimehin was born in Washington, D.C. in 1984 to Nigerian immigrants who first arrived in America five years prior. Although the family moved to Maryland when the future rapper was ten years old, Wale was mostly raised in suburban D.C....
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Attention Deficit, Wale
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