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Why Wale’s Attention Deficit Is Monumental For DC

Submitted by on November 10, 2009 – 9:49 am44 Comments

Wale Album Cover

As a DC metropolitan area representative, I feel almost obliged to let the world know that history is about to be made today.

The ambassador of rap from the capitol, Wale, releases his debut album Attention Deficit today. With features from all types of artists Chrisette Michelle and Melanie Fiona to Gucci Mane and Pharrell and more this album is a cleverly crafted work of art.

What’s the big deal, you ask? Well, unlike hip-hop havens such as New York City, LA, Atlanta, or Houston, DC hasn’t ever successfully launched a nationally recognized rapper. Ever.

In the city where politics live, hip-hop came second to go-go, a subcategory of funk unique to DC that was created in the ’70s and pioneered by singer-guitarist Chuck Brown. You’ve probably heard the percussion-heavy genre’s influence on more mainstream music and not even realized it. Remember Amerie‘s “1 Thing” or Beyonce‘s “Crazy In Love”? They both borrowed heavily from go-go without properly crediting the sound that made the songs the hits they are.

Wale infuses the local sound into a bunch of his tracks too; check this Rik Cordero produced video for Back to the Feature‘s “Sweatin’ Out Weaves”, featuring Uncalled 4 Band (or UCB), the go-go band that’s been touring with Wale as of recent.

See what I mean? That’s that go-go sound that runs the city, and to see Wale embrace it and bring it to the masses is quite an achievement. What’s also impressive is how he’s stepped out of go-go’s shadow and has attracted the most attention and buzz from any local artist since DJ Kool in the ’90s.

His success in the industry is twofold; not only does he put on for the city musically, but he also opens the doors to the flourishing “scene” here in the DMV (the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area), showcasing the creative talent that the city has to offer. Before the eyes were on the city, artisans of all different disciplines were overlooked.

Now, it’s hard to find somebody who hasn’t been influenced by somebody or something from the region. Love him or hate him, he’s been pivotal in fostering a local community of cool kids that appreciate the subculture of hip-hop, and that’s undeniable.

I’ve seen him come a long way, from those Paint A Picture days all the way up to the highly-anticipated Back to the Feature joint. Three years and five mixtapes later, he’s got a major label deal and a feature-heavy album. Incredible.

Go support great music and grab a copy of Attention Deficit. I bought five; one for every member of my family including me, and one to get autographed at tomorrow’s meet and greet down in DC. Yep, I’m goin’ HAM. Ha. I’ll reveal more details on that when I can. If you prefer a digital version, purchase the album on iTunes here. There’s special tracks on this version that the hard copy doesn’t have, too.

Let me know what you think about the album. Favorite track? Most impressive verse? Did it disappoint? Too much hype? Whatever you’ve got, throw it in the comment section. Don’t be bashful, either.

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  • Marcel says:

    I’m going to buy my copy today. I hope the album is as good as those leaked tracks.

    I think Amerie did credit go-go in her music. Beyonce, not so much. Amerie had the band in her video if i’m not mistaken.


  • dig dug says:

    wale definitely did it with this one man. i got the leak, but i just used your link to buy the album a few minutes ago and i’ve got to say, the bonus tracks really add something to an already dope product.

    modi, it’s really cool to see you blogging from a new home while the site’s in repair mode. looking forward to reading more of your stuff on this site dude, and as a dc transplant, i love reading about your perspective on the city. keep it up, you’ll do some big things in the future.

  • Brandon Otis says:

    Great album. I like the track that samples John Mayer’s “3×5″, can’t think of the title off the top though.

  • uristocrat says:

    This is a phenomenal album due to the varied topics presented on each song. My Favorite song is definitely Beautiful bliss featuring J. cole and Melanie Fiona.

    btw great article Modi.

  • Chelsea says:

    Great article. It’s definitely crazy to see Wale come such a long way. I remember first hearing about him years back around the time of “the go-go dance” when I was in highschool in DC. Now to have seen Wale be the leader of the 2009 Official House-Band at the MTV awards is big stuff. He’s really come so far and gained popularity with a genre of music that was often looked over. Can’t wait to read more from you about my city!

  • Tahir J says:

    Attention Deficit is just the tip of the iceberg. I think this cat has a lot to offer. Do you know they shot a video for Pretty Girls?

    It’s been good to have seen this dude come into his own and emerge as a kind of representative for a region which I think has long felt overlooked in terms of its contributions to popular culture.

    Now, it’s like D.C., Maryland, Virginia is on the map. Our strange slang, fashion, music and a bit of our culture. It’s something that I think has got to be very affirming for quite a lot of people from “da uhr-ea.” A great little moment in time.

  • Monica says:

    Great article, kid. Definitely happy we have someone to represent DC, and to do it well with a sick go-go band like UCB. Listened to the leak and will be hitting up iTunes tonight after work. More than anything, I feel like Wale is more approachable and I respect that. Read an article in Spin where he says,

    “Sometimes I’m happy — you can tell via Twitter. Sometimes I’m pissed off — you can tell via Twitter,” he says. “I just think, at the end of the day, I don’t want them to see me as a celebrity; I just want them to see me and say, ‘He’s like a regular person at his job right now who’s mad.’”

    Real respect real. DMV STAND UP!

  • Chase Paper says:

    yung, this bama write sum good articles no bull. Mo County all day. Wale brotha I like what ur doin. Keep doin it cause only you can do it like you does ya dig?

  • MISTA23 says:

    Uh-oh Modi Man got the comment section poppin.

    It’s solid. He made a major label debut without any gimmicks, or unnecessary features. (People hate on the Gucci and Lady Gage, but whatever). Definitely cool he threw K’Naan on there.

    Based off the mixtapes, he definitely has more to say. A little girl record heavy, but I mess with it.

  • Pascale says:

    My sister was a fan of go-go through her school experience in Richmond, VA… so I got an appetizer for the DC culture. Born and raised in NY, I never really felt the need to explore music beyond my city—all I needed was right here. With all that being said, I’m happy Wale has been in it for DC… there’s a need for expansion in hip hop, beyond the hip hop “havens” as Modi put it—-damn maybe someone can rep Carson City, Nevada or something…

    nice work modele.

  • Clif Soulo says:

    Great post. Great album. In approx 3 hours, i will also be outchea’ with my official copy. If I had to pick one song, which is really difficult to do, I might go with “mama told me” or “shades”…..”or pretty girls”. With Attention Deficit, Wale might just have the chance to bring that grammy back and leave it in the district. Bong!

  • Jarrett says:

    Nice summary of Wale’s importance to the DMV. Looking forward to reading more.

  • rotimi says:

    Great post Modi, this is what I’ve been trying to explain to everyone at college but you put it eloquently. To most Wale is just another up-and-coming hip hop artist, but for us from the DMV it means a lot more because he is spreading and representing DC’s original culture.

    So far I might have to agree with Shades being one of the hottest tracks.

  • Ben Hartman says:

    It’s real nice to see someone from DC getting some national attention, but, I won’t lie, man, this shit pales in comparison to Mixtape About Nothing. Tracks don’t come together as an album. And honestly, sampling John Mayer? Fuck, man. But there are some hot tracks: Mirror and TV in the Radio are the only ones I remember really getting into on first listen.

  • Alex says:

    solid album all around, I’m very impressed that Wale doesn’t have a isngle b-side quality track on this album. You said it Modi, this is monumental!

  • I kind of agree with Ben Hartman. This is a great cd for the DMV (DC, MD and VA) and it’s definitely monumental for us to have arrived here. But 100 miles and running, paint a picture, and mixtape about nothing are instant hits in my book. Attention Deficit will have to grow on me a little more. Proud of it still though.

  • HassleHuff says:

    With a mix of great production, awesome features, and some really great content, Wale has managed to release the best rap album of 2009. I’m from Detroit and had the pleasure of meeting Wale this summer when he did a show at The Shelter. Go cop this album ASAP! You won’t regret it.


  • Definitely one of the best hip hop albums of the year. Without a doubt.

    This album goes right next A Mixtape About Nothing. Bout to hit up the

    music store to go grab this.

  • [...] Click here to read a great article on how monumental this album is for D.C. VN:F [1.6.3_896]Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)Share/Save [...]

  • [...] Post Review Why Wale’s Attention Deficit Is Monumental For DC Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 Art, Business, Classic Material, Consume(r), Culture and Lifestyle, [...]

  • Shellonda says:

    Great article! I had no idea about the significance of Wale’s contribution to hip-hop as an artist from DC. Kind of a big deal. I really really like Shades partially because Chrisette Michelle is on it and also because the message is just so real and really resonates with me. There is still more of the album I need to explore so with time my favorite track may change.

    I’m taking a hip-hop class this semester, so it will be interesting to see if the professor mentions this in lecture today!

  • cheezey says:

    I have dedicated this week to all things Wale. He is definitely a force to reckon with… I’ve been waiting patiently since the XXL Freshmen 10 cover dropped, and Wale has emerged from the shadows of those other 9 and really shined.
    Fave track on the album – Shades. An entire song about colorism?! Only Wale… he told a story, HIS story.. the song is amazing and heartfelt, concept itself is genius.
    Another track is Diary. You just have to listen to it to understand.
    Good article Modi… you captured why Wale is that dude, why there are so many of us (myself included) just catching on, and gave me a little history on go-go which the DMV area goes ham for, but as bostonian turned NYer will never truly appreciate.
    Excellent review. I hope wale sells a milli.

  • JonnyRabbit says:

    2 words…Beautiful Bliss. Somewhere towards the end he says ”I can’t sing but fuck it.” it was definitely a song of victory that should make the whole DMV feel the same

  • Les says:

    I just hope people really feel this. its so monumental for us like u said. i was actually feeling his last mixtape (back to the feature) as much as the album so im excited for new material already.

  • LCD says:

    Great article bruh… and Wale’s album is FIRE

  • @walksworld says:


    I can’t wait til I get off work to grab this CD

  • Nisa Muhammad says:

    Great review. Modi should write more. It was very detailed and informative.

  • DJ DISCOURSE says:

    I think this album belongs in every hip-hop library on earth. The Wale/UCB alliance represents the crystallization of all things musical and DC. I hope this means that people will stop asking me if I work for the government…and I hope this draws people away from the violent reputation of gogo, and back into the undeniable fact (that i’ve heard from people all over the country) that D.C. is home of the nations best black musicians…(and the flyest people on the planet)… back to the live drums of gogo that we grew up with, back to the roots. I am type proud of this movement.

  • Courtney W says:

    yess!!! the album is monumental. i thought there was a lot of hype but it definitely lived up to it. well said.


  • JennyT says:

    I love your writing style.
    This is a great article, very informative !

  • Cousin Wale says:

    Glad that my namesake is doing it for DC.

  • Brigette says:

    Equally monumental is Cordero’s video for Wale. Cordero, under Three/21 Media, has been directing music videos in his “guerrilla style” for quite some time now. He’s most infamous for his Blue Magic promo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JODhpmXZpxc. And now he’s directed some fire for Wale. I’m not a huge fan of the booty-bouncing scantily clad women in his videos, but as an aspiring filmmaker I can’t knock what Cordero has done for the game. And Wale–well that’s a no brainer. DMV all day…

  • [...] are internet claims that Wale’s new (and “official” first) album, Attention Deficit, is a monument for D.C. And while I like Wale, and will certainly pick up his debut, he’s significantly falling short [...]

  • Footman says:

    I know a lot of people who see Wale as a brilliant market analyst, who found a niche he could exploit and run with: the conscious DC rapper who’s obsessed with being fly. I saw him live and felt the backing band (UCB I think) a lot more than the main event. I’ll be watching him, see if his latest holds up or discredits this cynical theory..

  • tamikaishere says:

    I listened to his album, as I listen to most albums that get leaked and his is definitely good. Unfortunately your boy has the personality of a wet blanket (stank) and listening to his album gave me some insight into why. I wish him success, he’s definitely talented

  • [...] DCtoBC.com’s Modi mentions the impact that Wale’s debut album will have on the DMV region- Why Wale’s Attention Deficit is Monumental For DC [...]

  • One!llKid says:

    I haven’t lived in DC long enough to claim DMV resident status but I can still appreciate Wale. Anyone who can give sports name drops like Anthony Munoz and Mike Hart deserves a place in your itunes library.

  • Elle A says:

    I for one am SO proud of my city. Especially living in a city like Chicago, where all you hear from artists is the hate they get from the people of chicago it feels GREAT to see the love coming from the DMV in support of Wale.

    I can’t pick a favorite song yet, they are all dope and I love how he fuses the go-go sound with mainstream hip-hop and gives it all a pop-vibe. The lyrics and word-play are amazing and I really can’t say something bad about a single track.

    Great article Modi!!

  • Shay says:

    after years of stemming into something great, wale has made it to the big dance.
    i appreciate all he’s done for the DMV region, we all should be.

    but my favorite track has to be Dairy with Marsha Ambrosius, i’m still working on my favorite “verse” though, takes much deliberation.

  • Thomas says:

    Dope album. From front to back its good music. What time is the meet and greet? And Where at?

    Amerie went to G’Town and I really don’t think she acknowledge the Go-Go sound. Gotta remember that Chucky Thompson a D.C. native gave her that sound and if I’m correct Chucky produced the Beyonce track as well.

    Anyhoo…..good ish.

  • [...] on Dr. Jays and gives a thorough background on the DC artist. You’ll want to read it… here. That’s right, DC’s coming up. Favorite [...]

  • Meistro says:

    Great article, Modi — I’m definitely rooting for Wale

    re: Thomas — Rich Harrison produced both Crazy in Love and One Thing (and I think Amerie’s whole album? maybe not)

    And, not to totally nerd out, but, while both songs bare a resemblance to go-go, Crazy in Love samples the Chi-Lites – Are You My Woman (Tell me So) and One Thing Samples Oh Calcutta by The Meters. Chi Lites are from Chicago and Meters from New Orleans. So yeah, both samples have a percussive gogo feel, but really they are just funk breaks from songs that pre-dated go-go.

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