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Read this: Wale, Tom Coburn, Warren Beatty

Wale's identity crisis: probably not shoe-related. (Courtesy Universal Music Group)

Good afternoon, everyone. Washington rapper Wale's first major label album, "Attention Deficit," drops today, and Chris Richards says it's aptly named.

It's not just Wale, though. "If hip-hop -- once our most radical, rebellious popform -- is finally congealing into the snoozy status quo," Richards asks, "how can today's rappers feel anything but conflicted?"

Aside from the irony that Wale's label made an 11th-hour call to axe a track called "Artistic Integrity," the rapper seems confused about his success -- and how he feels about it:

"I won't rest till I'm given my respect," he proclaims on "Triumph," as if fame is something he deserves.
"Am I doing this for them or me?" he second-guesses on "Contemplate," as if fame is something he dreads.
And back and forth it goes, with the rapper's sticky, dexterous flow holding the proceedings together like so much rubber cement.

Elsewhere in today's Style section: Mary Jordan profiles Sen. Tom Coburn, "a white-coated physician back in Muskogee who has delivered more than 4,000 babies and sees patients free of charge every Monday." A judge says actor Warren Beatty can sue the Tribune Co. over rights to comic-strip detective Dick Tracy. And, as David Montgomery reports, witnessing the execution of a loved one's murderer doesn't always bring the closure you'd expect.

Tips? Sightings? E-mail us: And follow us on Twitter: @ReliableSource.

By The Reliable Source  |  November 10, 2009; 12:05 PM ET
Categories:  Read This  
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