Pay attention to this

By Amanda Murimba

Photo: Wale, August 15,2009

While many people seem to complain about the lack of originality and relevance of hip-hop today, there is one artist that breaks this stereotype and places it back where it belongs – on the map.

Wale is best known for party-record hit, Chillin featuring Lady Gaga, or as the laid-back yet critical voice from The Roots 2008 hit, Rising Up. As stated in his verse from the track “Hip hop ain’t dead ’cause the pulse is in us”. This pulse, may very well be, Wale himself.

Attention Deficit is Wale’s first studio offering, delivering an illustrious composition of go-go and hip-hop while managing to stay relevant in a society that demands hip-hop bring something fresh and noteworthy to the table.

The tracks pay tribute to the synthesized and colourful style of 80s hip-hop, making use of various claps and snares laid aptly with beats that any fan would enjoy bare. Luckily, Wale’s lyricism allows one to enjoy both these sounds and his thoughts in a creative blend of poetry.

While Wale definitely caters to the mainstream market, his lyrics remain conscious and educated enough to require the listener to be alert or else fear to miss the punch lines and wordplay.

Wale’s songs reminisce on life experiences and the emotions felt with each one. Similar to the disorder mentioned in the title, the album takes you on a journey that shows the scores of emotions you can feel at any given time as reflected in the sounds of the various tracks, never completely settling on one feeling or pace. Whether it be love, anger, confusion or sadness, the tracks range from an up-tempo, go-go inspired collaboration with Gucci Mane entitled Pretty Girls, to Shades, a melodic and jazzy duo with Chrisette Michele.

With a broad list of guest appearances on the album, it’s hard to imagine it falling short in any regard, but the track Let it Loose with The Neptunes’ Pharrell Williams seems to leave one wondering if not paying attention to detail left this particular song a little incomplete?

This album is like a candy store for a kid on a sugar-high, with Wale being the Prescription that will keep them coming for more. As a project that was two years in the making, it?s been well worth the wait as he has delivered a high quality album that?s been recognised nationally and internationally. Pay attention, because Wale is one artist that’s definitely here to stay.

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