Before signing to the MMG Empire, producing an album alongside Jerry Seinfeld and rinsing the hell out of DJ Akademic on a blissful but stressful episode of Complex: Everyday Struggle, Wale was signed to Interscope and released his debut album ‘Attention Deficit’ under them as well as British producer, Mark Ronsons’ Allido record label back in 2009.
Beginning the album with video game sound effects, Jazzy trumpets and African drums, Wale raps on the opening record, “Triumph” where his monotone vocals and aggressive flows juxtapose the instrumental. The song is an ode to the success and place Wale had achieved at this stage in his career, labelling himself “The Movie of the Year” and his competitors “slumdogs”. Immediately, there’s a clear sound and direction to his music. The second track on the album, “Mama Told Me”, confirms this. Produced by Best Kept Secret, an amazing orchestration of drums, trumpets, shakers and Wale’s fearless lyrics and approach proved that the then upcoming MC was a force to be witnessed.
Although the album contains OG Hip-Hop artists, Bun B, the then chaotic ATLien and now veteran Gucci Mane and the phenomenal Pharrell on their respective Hip-Hop orientated records, there are also Pop, R&B and radio-friendlier records that Wale executes with ease. “World Tour” featuring Jazmine Sullivan, “Let It Loose” and “Chillin'” featuring Lady GaGa, making Wale’s ear for featured guests an important factor into the process of his albums.
However, it is clear from the title of the album and the lyrical effort and ear for instrumentals that Wale had during this albums process that he was directly targeting an audience who’d be listening to his lyrics. This is evident on the K’Naan featured “TV In The Streets” where they both speak up about how no one would be fans of their music until they were to be recognised by a leading label. The strongest tracks on the album though are the ‘conscious rapper’ record “Contemplate” and the final track “Prescription” which sees Wale opening up about his struggle with mental health and it’s stigmatization associated with it in regards to the celebrities and specifically rappers.
In all; it’s an extremely strong debut solo studio album. Wale keeps me entertained throughout and doesn’t let one air of an instrumental go untouched with his fierceful rapping style and bluntness to be as open and honest as possible.