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The "Did That Album Come Out? Really?" Award

By Chet Betz | 15 December 2009

Wale :: Attention Deficit
(Interscope; 2009)

I’m not sure if I or any of us were ever truly stoked by the prospect of Wale. Intrigued by the go-go gimmick? Sure. Impressed by the verbal dexterity on that Justice remix? Maybe. But stoked? Nah, I don’t think so. I guess he had a mixtape (about nothing, it seems) drop last year. Supposedly, it was received pretty well but I didn’t peruse because a Seinfeld-themed mixtape doesn’t exactly align with my concept of flyness. Then he did some Back to the Future kind of tape this year which I guess I could have listened to but Colin said 68% and, again, when rappers dredge up geek nostalgia it makes me highly uncomfortable. Especially when they do it with such corny Photoshop. But I tried to keep an open mind, tried to give Wale all the benefit of my doubt, tried to promise myself that I’d check out the debut full-length that was coming—just so long as it didn’t have Alf on the cover or some shit. Then he dropped a single with Lady Gaga and I promptly forgot to care.

Anyways this album apparently came out over a month ago and has probably been leaked thrice as long as that. I’m stating that fact because I’m sort of just realizing it. I don’t think I’m the only one; a quick look at Metacritic reveals a pretty modest spread of reviews, most of which are quite reserved in their praise or are colored yellow. Urb likes it, but considering how much coverage they’ve given Wale since he kinda-sorta broke onto the scene, they’re obligated to. And most of the outlets who have voiced an opinion at all are those same that have had some investment in Wale’s career. Also, their opinions read apathetically to the point that they probably didn’t even need to listen to Attention Deficit. I regurgitate this stuff because—as should be very clear—I myself have not heard the thing. And I have no intention of hearing it, really, since I’m relying on the perception I quickly cobbled together from the lukewarm mini-reception the album has thus far “enjoyed” to validate my continued dismissal of whatever it is Wale’s doing—as much as it seems I’m supposed to give a shit about the hipness of his rap—which nicely frees up more time to listen to OB4CL2 and Tha Hip. So thank you, Wale, for making yourself so easy to ignore.