Wale’s Attention: Deficit Debut Album Scores an Attention-Getting First Week

58879872Wale’s debut album, Attention: Deficit (Allido/Interscope), has gained both attention and acclaim in its first week of release, marking just the beginning of what should be a long and successful career for one of the most intriguing new artists in hip-hop. With the album released November 10th, first week sales have outperformed industry expectations for the first Washington, D.C. rapper to earn national attention in more than a decade. Wale, who built his underground cred with mixtapes, performed on TV’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “It’s On with Alexa Chung” to launch the album. The current single is “Pretty Girls,” featuring Gucci Mane and Weensey of Backyard Band, a legendary go-go group from the D.C. area. Capping off the year in true style, Wale is one of GQ magazine’s “Men Of The Year” for 2009.

“Every once in a while an album comes out you think you have the pulse on, and it winds up completely shocking you,” said Steve Berman, President, Marketing and Sales, Interscope Geffen A&M. “This is one of those albums. The fans are really discovering Attention: Deficit and we’re making sure we respond to this build up that’s been going on for the last 12 months. From a record company standpoint, we’ve only taken the first step in bringing Wale and Attention: Deficit to the public.”

Jon Pareles in The New York Times dubbed Wale “one of hip-hop’s hardest workers and greatest hopes” and noted that Attention: Deficit is Wale’s “purposeful move into hip-hop’s pop mainstream, with brassy production, collaborators (Gucci Mane, Marsha Ambrosius) and a pop hook in every song. The album is confident and catchy, with some telling moments…full of musical delights.”

The Washington Post called the album “a stellar offering from a wildly gifted rapper” and Entertainment Weekly enthused that “several excellent mixtapes have won Wale a reputation as a smart lyricist in an age of dumbed-down ringtone rap. He often lives up to that promise on his major-label debut, tossing out deep thoughts and show-offy puns over beats that pay homage to the go-go of his native D.C.” XXL wrote that the album is “an impressive body of work for his first term in office…With hip-hop continuing to take a creative downturn, Attention: Deficit is a long-overdue stimulus package.” Added Allmusic: “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…This unique debut does not disappoint.”

Pictured: Recording artist Wale visits fuse TV’s ‘Hip Hop Shop’ at fuse Studios on November 10, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)