Best of ’09: Wale – Attention Deficit

As the end of the year all-too-rapidly approaches, we’ll be taking a look back at some of the best music of 2009 – first up, debut album of D.C’s Seinfeld-loving Wale, Attention Deficit.

Attention Deficit did not, initially, blow me away. I’ve been a huge fan of Wale’s since I stumbled across The Mixtape About Nothing and seeing him live at Melbourne’s Good Vibrations festival earlier this year only reinforced that appreciation. He has an odd cadence and a misleading style of rapping which can be hard to get into, but once you get over that initial stumbling block (which may not even exist for some people) it’s easy to see how his mixtapes have been so popular – he’s smart, damn it. He’s also worked with some pretty good producers, from Best Kept Secret to Mark Ronson.

Attention Deficit is a fantastic debut, filled with excellent beats, clever rhymes and a bunch of hooks that make it easy to keep on repeat. Like I said, the first time I heard it I was appreciative without being enthusiastic. Now I’m enthusiastic. Like another album I’m planning to review for this Best of ’09 column, Julian Casablancas’ Phrazes of the Young, AD really grew on me. 90210 was early standout, followed by Pretty Girls and TV In The Radio. It wasn’t until later that I properly listened to the Lady Gaga collab Chillin, and only recently that I fully grasped the awesomeness of World Tour, Shades and Mirrors. They all, superficially speaking, seemed to be good songs but it’s only after you’ve sat down and listened without having your ears or eyes distracted that you appreciate the quality of the production and the lyricism. That might seem obvious, but I’m talking about a total shift in the way you perceive an album here – from adequate to excellent. And definitely one of the best of the year.

Wale – World Tour feat. Jazmine Sullivan

– Ben Vernel


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