Wale: D.C. Go Getta

“It was more like all the signs were around me”. That is rapper Wale’s response when asked what made him pursue rap. The D.C. rapper already has the attention of celebrities from Lindsey Lohan to Travis Barker to Lil Wayne. With such a diverse audience it’s no wonder that Wale’s style cannot be classified. When you hear “Uptown Roamers” you might assume that Wale is the typical thugged out rapper waiting for a stranger to step on the wrong side of D.C. However, you turn the dial and he flips the script on “Wale Dance” with an almost Kanyesque vibe to his rhymes. Even after speaking to him you know that you just can’t peg this man. Now backed by Interscope and Mark Ronson, Wale wants to give the Internet message boards something to talk about. AllHipHop.com: How long have you been rapping?Wale: (laughs) As far as back as I can remember. That is something I always did since I learned how to talk. Whether it was doing it leisurely and now it is more so knowing that I can run with it. It has always been a self conscious thought that I can probably run with this.AllHipHop.com: What made you decide to pursue it as a career?Wale: It was more like all of the signs was around me. Like me not playing ball any more. People around me telling me how good it was but it never really has been like a defining moment. It was always something that I did. The first time I went in the studio I was 15. So it was like you go one time and then you want to again. Every time you go people say it’s good and the next thing you know you have a record deal. It almost feels like I never really focused on getting a record deal. Or having a big buzz, I just was doing it and all of those things just happened.AllHipHop.com: You have the ability to alternate your rap style from something fun like “Ice Cream Girls” to something more hard like “Uptown Roamers”. Why did you decide to be so diverse in your music?Wale: It comes from where I come from. There are all types of people in D.C. It just shows how you can embody your environment. Also being an artist you want to give out different images according to the beat and how you feel. I feel like that is what makes a great artist. Portray different images that coordinate with different types of music, and also to broaden your fan base.Wale Presents: Keys To The City DCAllHipHop.com: How did the “Nike Boots” Remix featuring Lil Wayne happen?Wale: A mutual friend between me and Wayne, she made a phone call and asked had Wayne heard of me and he said, Yeah. So they set it up. He was down to do it. It was simple. Wayne is an amazing artist. He is like a machine. He don’t stop. It’s a no brainer and he is the biggest in the market so it’s no brainer to do the record.AllHipHop.com: You recently signed to Interscope Records. How did that deal go down?Wale: We were negotiating for a long time. Since I was on tour. It was a long negotiation process but I knew I was gonna go to Interscope for some time now. I just kept it to myself.AllHipHop.com: You also performed at Area Night Club in L.A. recently and Lindsey Lohan invited you to her table. Wale: Yeah she invited me to her table and also Travis Barker was there.AllHipHop.com: What is it like to have established celebrities accept you so early on in your career?Wale: It doesn’t faze me. Everybody that I have ever looked up to I have met several times and talked about things other than music. I’m not even star struck anymore. It is exciting to be around people that I consider geniuses but I feel like at this point I’m their peer. We are all people with minds who make music.[The Roots f/ Wale & Chrisette Michelle "Rising Up"]AllHipHop.com: What role do you play with Elitaste.com?Wale: I been kind of lazy lately but it defines me in some sense. It is just stuff that is interesting. It’s a blog site that my manager runs and I consult fifty percent of the time. Like if I like a pair of jeans or shoes then I will tell him we should do a blog about it. Or even a cartoon. It is just a blog of things that I think are dope.AllHipHop.com: Your most recent project is coming out in May.Wale: It’s called The Mixtape About Nothing.AllHipHop.com: What can your fans expect from that?Wale: It is more topic based. Every song is really about something and that is the irony of it. It kind of has that Seinfeld theme to it.AllHipHop.com: What topics are you going to discuss this time despite its title?Wale: Relationships, the hype in Hip-Hop. There will be some things from my personal life but I think the album will be the most personal thing I do. The Perfect Plan - WaleAllHipHop.com: What is it like working with Mark Ronson?Wale: It gets frustrating at times because he is so busy but that is the gift and the curse of working with a genius. He is a freak of nature. Like the other day he had to do a couple of beats for Nas. Nas wanted one track and Mark went in and did like ten beats for him in a short amount of time. He is doing something for Nas, Jay, Christina Aguilera so he is real busy. I’m like what about my album, remember? He is a brainchild and one of the smartest producers I have ever seen in my life.AllHipHop.com: When can we expect the album?Wale: It will be out this year. No date yet.AllHipHop.com: You have a title yet?Wale: We just creating right now. I’m in the studio with Just Blaze.AllHipHop.com: Anything you particularly excited about on the album?Wale: I think the people are going to enjoy it. People from the underground scene don’t get a lot of recognition and people say that my style reflects the underground; my beat selection and things of that nature. I want to represent for them and still have some commercial s**t. AllHipHop.com: You are really into fashion, what inspires you?Wale: Everything. I could be looking at a cartoon and see some colors and be like, Wow I like that I want a sweater that color that I can wear with these shoes. It’s kind of like a Rain Man thing I have going on. (laughs)AllHipHop.com: Where do you do your shopping?Wale: A lot of times I just go online to Neimans or Sacks or Luis Vuitton. I don’t shop like that and definitely not for shoes because the sneaker game ain't what it used to be.IMEEM_KEYS TO THE CITY MIXTAPE_DMV.mp3 - one nation hip hop showAllHipHop.com: Do you think it was harder for you to get on because you are from D.C. as opposed to New York or L.A., Texas?Wale: Yeah. One hundred percent. There are so many people doing they thing and they aren’t even getting the recognition. Sometimes I get too much recognition. Well I won’t say too much but sometimes I get the recognition that they could be giving to someone else. Like there could be a magazine that wants a third interview from me. I’m like what about the other people doing they thing where I’m from. Sometimes people would say something stupid like I’m selfish like I’m going to magazines saying please come interview me again please! I would much rather have some of the other people get they shine too. But sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I might be the one to get stoned because I’m getting so much attention. AllHipHop.com: Have you experienced a lot of hating from your home town since your career has taken off?Wale: Most definitely. On the message boards they hate too. If they rap or their best friend raps then they got something to say. It’s almost like my wins is their loss. It’s unfortunate but I just tell myself I don’t even want to read the comments. Especially on AllHipHop. AllHipHop.com: Oh Yeah?Wale: Yeah they hard. I deal with it. I read everything but the comments. It's motivation. Every artists look at what the people are saying about them. Back in ‘94 or ‘95 when Biggie and Pac were prominent everybody did not have a voice. It wasn’t one click away. You couldn’t just go online. But now Jay-Z, Wayne, Kanye and T.I. who are arguably the biggest names in Hip-Hop right now, there is a section of people who don’t like them. They get discussed online.AllHipHop.com: This goes back to the initial question. Of all things you could be doing why rap?Wale: It is the art of expression. I’m one of those people who has a lot on their mind. It’s a lot of people that nobody is speaking for. It’s how I express myself. It pays the bills.I’m speaking for anybody who can see themselves in me. Everybody music is not for everybody. Elvis music wasn’t for people who were going through discrimination. Jay-Z music is not for everybody as well. Soccer Moms aren’t going to be feeling American Gangster. Some times people reach too far trying to reach everybody and you miss the people who you really need to touch.AllHipHop.com: If you could describe your style of rap music in one word what would you choose?Wale: That is a difficult question because you could sound pretentious like my rap is a breathe of fresh air. (laughs) Or some rappers are like I’m the new Jay-Z. It is hard to say but in one word I would say passionate. I appreciate AllHipHop and everybody who leaves the negative and positive remarks.Peep Wale's Keys to the City on Imeem[Wale "Uptown Roamers"]