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The Beat

of Atlantic Records

Love/Hate Thing

Straight from the man himself comes the words of a warrior, fearless friend of the people and an incredibly harsh self-critic. Since music is Wale’s only salvation, he’ll be serving up new material forever. But right now, with The Gifted, he’s at his personal best.

Throughout the history of Hip-Hop we’ve had the stereotypical rapper sets: The Gangsta Rapper, The Lover Rapper, The Teacher Rapper, The Clubby Rapper, and The Wack Rapper, just to name a few. Today’s market calls for a deeper more complex MC that encompasses all that great about rap. Where the lines are blurred on what he can speak on emotionally and be given a "macho pass". While seeing this transformation

where an "emo" Drake can tap into his heartfelt side and rap about love in a direct way, Wale is all up in that same chamber and delivers that same message but with a sharper edge. This unique ability to rap with the rebel rouser Waka Flocka Flame on "No Hands", then switch lanes to lace the love note nod to relationship drama with "Bad", is a great skill to have. The question remains: Is that appreciated and fostered in today’s disposable talent climate?

Wale has some strong opinions on where the state of Hip-Hop is and is going. Along with some high level-rapping peers, he’s doing his part to make the type of music that represents his generation. His work on this new album is his most hands on and involved from top to bottom. Yet, it’s up to the very people whose opinions sway with the wind that will determine his status in history. But of course he has some words to say about all of that first.

The Business: I have a lot of situations on the table. I’m excited about it. All around the industry, people in power, my relationships are so good and my track record is good. Bringing "unheard artists," to the forefront, enabling their careers. I’ve already done that twice in my career with Tiara Thomas and Sam Dew.

Surviving The Times: This shit ain’t guaranteed. Even my (XXL Magazine) Freshman cover. If you look at that, there’s a lot of people that... I know where I’m at, I’m blessed, I’m happy about it. I thank God everyday that I’m on this side of it because I don’t know what I would be doing. Sometimes, when I get in those circles, I might not be the hottest or the most liked, but I feel it word for word and I walk like that. And we talk about riches and most successful on iTunes. I just walk around like that, I’m trained to believe so.


"I might not be the hottest or the most liked, but I feel it word for word and I walk like that.

Jay-Z aka Big Homie: Long story short, talking to dude, he knows who the fuck he is. He knows like knowing him can make somebody like... So he’s stingy with what he’s willing to share with that. I mean he saw me grow, he saw everything. He was there from the beginning. He knows. When he’s telling me he’s proud of me, I believe it ten times more than a lot of these other people. Because he saw when I wasn’t making the company no money at all.

I really think this is going to be good though. Because I’m just too good to not, do good. I know I had the right things going in the right direction.

Boss Ross: Yeah, I have learned a lot of things from Rozay. A lot about the music business. I think all of us have learned from him all the way down to Rockie, Stalley, Meek, everybody. I’ve learned how to be and survive in this game.

Humbleness vs. Cockiness: I don’t think it’s cockiness. You don’t really have crazy sound bites of me going off, saying this that and the third. It’s kind of like perceived. Even still, I’m just the most human. I don’t make conscious efforts to be any way. My artist peers, would tell you I’m the most humble, the most friendly artist that they’ve ever worked with. I stay out of trouble though. I try to keep a good, clean notary. Stay out of everyone’s way.

MMG Rider: I don’t know what I mean to the label like that. I know they know they got a hard working artist. I hope I mean something to them. Shit, I’ve been up all damn day! I want to help a couple hard working individuals build their dreams. Whether it be an engineer, rapper, producer, singer, dancehall artist, whatever, I want to facilitate. I want to create something where dope artists that I signed or even old artists that I’ve believed in can come out on this album release that’s scheduled.

Work Ethic: Persistency, actually putting some thought into my work. I don’t know. I feel like when you play the game hard and you practice and you good...good things will eventually take place.

Self Made: Honestly, I want to turn people on to my music that hasn’t heard it or hasn’t given it a fair shot. I’m not the most likable guy... Hate letters, empty threats on twitter and social media. I got to accept it. That’s always going to happen as you get closer to success, once you get used to it. You could never really get better at it.

Writing Process: I just try to top shit. The verse I did for "Jet Life" with Curren$y was the first verse I did without writing. I like to write. I got like three albums worth of stuff that didn’t even come out but it’s not better than my last stuff. It maybe equal to my last stuff might be some old lingo in there, but I’ll leave it alone. Not necessarily poetry books, their real raps, they are recorded and everything. There just not fully there and I don’t want to put out anything that’s not all the way there.

"We are so spoiled. You got YouTube and you don’t have to buy an album. I remember going through piles of tapes just to find one song."

New Generation: Tyler The Creator is crazy. I think he’s a genius. But I don’t think many niggas is appreciating it. If the Internet shut down like a year, niggas will appreciate a Tyler album. Niggas would appreciate an A$AP rocky album, a wale album. We are so spoiled. You got YouTube and you don’t have to buy an album. I remember going through piles of tapes just to find one song.

Adolescent Inspiration: I used to hang with the all the older people and get put on to all the old music. Then be rapping it at school. Songs weren’t that accessible. The first song I remember was when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade. It was like "Electric Relaxation" or "Award Tour", something crazy. I remember in elementary school, on the school bus, rapping them words. I was just a fan of the joint but once you start getting into your style and you get older, you start having stuff to say, you get into it.

Realizing The Gift: (At) Football practice, track trips on long bus rides. Yeah, we used to do 6-hour trips and everybody would be freestyling, but I’d be the nigga that everybody would be like "Ohhh!" and I could just go nonstop. But I was always that dude that could just do that. Write rhymes. I started to be a spectacle. It was corny to be a rapper in DC when I was growing up. There was no rappers. If you played basketball for one of the top teams, you was good. But if you were rapping, you had to have another special talent. You had to rap and work at the downtown Locker Room. DC is different though because there was young niggas in middle school wearing Iceberg and Coogi. It was spoiled kids.

I have a song called "Vanity", you’re going to be singing it after the second listen, but you won’t even know, I’m dropping some jewels on there! These are real life stories. It’s melodic; it’s just the vibe. I’m telling you we are all so vain that it makes no sense at all. It makes absolutely no sense how much we spend our hard earnings to pay for people’s opinion. We don’t buy things for ourselves, we buy it for somebody else’s opinion and it’s cool, but let’s not learn from it anymore.

Real Talk: That’s why me, Cole, Kendrick and Drizzy...when somebody hit waving the flag what we truly represent in our hearts, it’s known. I remember talking to Kendrick around the time Self Made 2 came out, he was like, "You’re speaking that shit." We always talk like that. It’s almost like the unspoken gospel of righteous niggas living righteously to provide for their family. The talk it’s that righteous talk. That unrighteous talk comes from the righteous niggas. We know in our hearts because we talk for real, about life. We sit there and talk about how to entertain y'all and how to get it across. But you got to understand it’s hard. Everything that needs to be said has been said already. Hip-Hop is not like R&B. Like for instance, R&B you can do a cover of a song that’s already out.

New Age Attitude: So we got to try to find new ways to get these messages across. So when Cole hit, when Drizzy hit, it’s like you kind of take your hat off. Because not only do we deal with trying to reinvent the wheel so to speak... we deal with niggas our age, that dress like us, look like us but they ain’t support because they like Biggie the best. They like Tupac the best. Them niggas had nobody in the way. It was less things around. Look at all that shit they put Drizzy through with that DADA shit. People making a mockery out of whatever he’s trying to do. That shit didn’t exist back then. Niggas were wearing leather suits. Biggie said he will suck on your daddy’s dick. If niggas say that right now? You would get killed! There are just so many different standards! Niggas got mad at me (when I said) it’s harder to be a rapper now and they be like, "You don’t know!" C’mon man, (back then) them niggas woke up got to go on their block, "niggas jumped such and such!" Oh alright, he’s an urban legend. A nigga like me get jumped or whoever, "I’m talking about that nigga is a clown! Worldstar!" It ain’t the same; we live by a different code now. It’s all the way a different code.

Digital Market: It’s like you got that, mixed with like, look at Funk Master Flex’s (Who You Mad At’ Me Or Yourself) mixtape. It’s almost like you get it because it’s the digital age and shit is so disposable. That would have been four mixtapes. And them records would have surfaced and now it seems like its Hot97 FM’s records, like niggas are scared to play it, it’s so awkward.

Women’s Love Language: We’re just talking to them. I think that when you're honest that’s what happens. Yeah, it’s just real. You’re talking to them, not at them. It’s sincere. I just want to be honest.

Jealousy: Niggas are looking at you like competition. There’s one, two artists that think I talk to their girl. Their girl shows me too much love, not even on some hollering shit. It’s not like I’m ripped up or something! Real niggas like my shit, insecure niggas, it’s to throw jabs. It’s easy to act like we on the same level. It’s true. I know this. I’m not responding because I’m in my feelings. I be responding from my yacht, laughing at this shit, but I’m responding because you’re a human being, you have a pulse, you have a heart. I want to give you an opportunity to get yours across because I’m going to get mines right back across. That’s why I respond in the first place. You oppose my shit, I suck, why? If I ask enough questions, we’re going to get the root of the problem. I’m trying to get better at handling things well.

Wale "The Gifted"
Available Now