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Wale vs. Cudi: Who Made the Better Debut?

Over the course of past few days I’ve been reading projections on what Wale’s debut, Attention: Deficit, is going to do. Needless to say, the “guesstimation” is about 28,000 in his first week. We really won’t know until next Wednesday but if those figures hold true that really sucks because Wale made a really good album.

In fact, I told y’all that a few months back when I reviewed the album. Since no one had heard it way back in September when the review dropped everyone kept hitting me with the exact same question: “Is it really that good?”


I don’t blame anyone for doubting that Wale could’ve made a good album, because, honestly, I went into the listening session with the same concerns. I didn’t expect much so I was pleasantly surprised to hear good music (“Beautiful Bliss”), unique topics (“90210”), dope production (“Mirrors”), catchy hooks (“Pretty Girls”) and actual substance (“Diary”). Yeah, he has a tendency to say, “My name’s Wale” a heck of a lot but Attention: Deficit is a solid album.

Problem is with all the push back and delays I didn’t even know the album was dropping last week. Yeah, I know, career fail blah blah but I already heard the album back in like August so it wasn’t like I was anxiously waiting for the link to pop up online BestBuy to open last Tuesday morning. That doesn’t mean I don’t want the kid to win. Because I hate to see great projects go unnoticed while bullshit rises to the top of the charts.

Not that first week or total sales have any real effect on the actual quality of an album, I pray that these estimates are way off. I mean, that can’t be true, right? Think about it: Wale has had some pretty good looks. He was on the front cover of XXL’s 2009 Freshmen issue (among other mags); he had house band duties during the MTV VMA Awards, which must have increased his national visibility; he performed on most of the late night talk shows including Jimmy Fallon with the Roots; he has a couple songs in rotation, he landed opening act duties for Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 tour; and he actually delivered a good album.

What else does Wale have to do to succeed? Nothing actually. He did his part. The fans (read you & me) just have to.

Now I also had the pleasure of reviewing Kid Cudi’s album, which most of y’all defecated on (Oh, well). Despite popular belief, I still think Cudi made a good album. Personally, I like depressing music but that’s just me. I totally understand why most people didn’t care for the Cleveland kid’s kick-off disc, because even I’ll admit that it wasn’t the album I was expecting.

While in Wale’s case it was a welcome surprise, Cudi’s was more of a head-scratching surprise. It was way more singing than I had expected, but the more I listened to the album the more it grew on me.

Despite the glum overtones, there are joints that knocked (IMHO) like “Simple As…,” “Heart of a Lion (Kid Cudi Theme Music),” “Enter Galactic (Love Connection, Pt. 1)” and, of course, “Make Her Say.” Now I understand that the aforementioned tracks may not be up the alley (pause) of the diehard rap purist, but if you on some chill out shit these tracks would do the trick.

But, hey, I’m the same guy that liked Kanye’s last album (remember this) so maybe my tastes are just a tad different than most.

Still, if Cudi’s album was so “bad” why did he sell over 104,000 units in his first week, while Wale is only “projected” to sell a mere 28,000? Sure, Cudi has only managed to tally up an additional 90K since his release in September; but based on public opinion I’m sure most will say Wale made the better album. If that’s the case, it’s a shame that more people don’t support what they actually like. (No, shots at the Man on the Moon).

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as the final numbers for Wale won’t be out til next week. Like I said earlier, it doesn’t matter whether or not he sells 28K or 128K in his first week or 101st. I’ll paraphrase Cudi’s Mid Western brethren Common, “Black music is Black music and it’s all… Good.”

Who do you think made the better debut—Cudi or Wale? Did Cudi deliver the album you expected? What about Wale—did he surprise you with this record? Why do you think Wale is projected to sell so low?

Speak your piece… —Anslem Samuel

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