Wale – "TV in the Radio"

I mentioned Wale as a saving grace in hip-hop when I critiqued the “death” of hip-hop. Well, tomorrow the D.C.-Metro area rapper will drop his official debut album, Attention Deficit.

So, what’s the word on the album? The New York Times‘s Jon Pareles gave the album a pretty good once over, but closed out with a bit of a diss:

“Attention Deficit” would have been more impressive if it were Wale’s first nationwide exposure. But the mixtapes, with their low-budget production but far-reaching rhymes, now testify to how much Wale decided to conform.

Did Wale sell out?

I’ve only had a bit of a listen to the album: the singles “Nike Boots” and “Chillin,” and the David Sitek produced track “TV in the Radio.” The song’s title may be an insider-level-of-clever send-up of Sitek’s band, TV On The Radio, but it’s as accessible and adventurous as any song Wale’s previously made.

Yes, you’ve got the horns that Sitek goes bonkers for. But they’re spliced, cut up, and re-fabricated into some ingenious beat that’s got some serious grooves to it. Then there’s the central beat that opens the track, a fast-paced hi-pitched mechanical bounce similar to the underlying instrumental that Clipse’s “Momma I’m Sorry” and just kicks. And Wale’s flow? It might as well be its own instrumental itself – a self-assured string of tongue-twisting words you could hang an entire album on.

How does the track stack up against the rest of the album? We’ll just have to wait and see. But, if “TV in the Radio” counts for anything, Attention Deficit should be just as strong as Back to the Feature and The Mixtape About Nothing.

Wale – “TV in the Radio” (featuring K’Naan):

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