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MUSIC


Having Shawn Carter – that’s Jay-Z to you and me – on speed dial is nothing but a ‘thing’ for this Washington DC rapper. Known for writing secrets in his ‘Diary’, making the ‘Pretty Girls’ go clap clap, now he wants to show all his ‘Ambition’ – yes, it’s none other than Maybach Music Group’s (MMG) Wale. Nigerian by descent, he makes a stopover in London and gives Flavour the lowdown on Rick Ross, friendship and xxx…


Unlike many rappers, who only get the one chance at scoring a record deal, Wale has defied the critics and the pitfalls, and that’s why you can’t knock his ambition. Previously signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation management team, Wale has some story to tell, and the opposition from others only makes him stronger.


‘I love my opposers, they keep me sharp.’ Wale’s candid approach with the media and his fans comes as a surprise by an industry standard marred by lies, deceit and leaked records... ‘The Internet is so potent now that they [fans] heard it when we heard it, speaking on the release of his single ‘Slight Work’.


Things are taken one step further when speaking about up-and-coming rappers, ‘There’s beats popping with new rappers every day. There’s someone who’s gonna get gassed by selling 100 tickets in New York and then that’s the new person we gotta love this year. Like, c’mon man.’ Although this may come across hatefully, his honesty is refreshing.


‘DON’T TRY’ GENERATION What does come as a shocker is how close youth and youth culture are to his heart. When asked how he feels he says, ‘What hurts the most is we’re living in a generation that don’t try, when [that] word comes into affect you lose them. If it’s not ironed folded, in their lap and ready to wear, they don’t know what to do with it, because there is so much [music].’


The digital age we live in has its benefits and drawbacks, and Wale certainly knows this. ‘Information age has made it hard for me to accentuate my emotions,’ he says. ‘People misread “600 Benz” and say, “Oh, Wale’s with Rick Ross; oh, it’s different.” No it’s not it’s the same, it’s the same music.’


The speculative changes in his style have caused many in the industry to say that his music is no longer what it used to be, due to the signing with Maybach Music. What does he feel


“There’s someone gassed by selling 100 tickets in New York and that’s the new person we gotta love this year. C’mon man”


about changing the way black music is perceived? ‘The whole being of myself is always going to continue to do that. That’s the mission statement for Wale.’ So towards where all his hard work and effort is geared.


COOL UNCLE RICK


With a mission statement like that, it’s no wonder fellow rapper Rick Ross decided to bring him in. One can tell that Wale is not only thankful, but clearly admires his not so new boss. ‘You know that uncle that’ll let you cuss in front of your friends? He’s that uncle, everything’s cool, son. There’s no one in the game who deserves this moment in hip hop [more] than Rick Ross.’


So what about his growth as an artist, where does he think he is right now? ‘I think I’ve evolved as a man in the past two years and I understand how to get my message across – I don’t want to hear the same from any artist. That’s the beauty of this game and that’s why we learn to love it, it’s a never-ending challenge to top your last project.’


WHAT’S A FRIEND?


Being an artist is about striving to achieve all of his dreams, but Wale is also a son and friend. ‘I haven’t been a very great son as of recently, but I’m gonna try and fix that when I get back home.


‘A friend? What is a friend? The thing is that people get mad at you when you’re in a good position [in your music career] and they’re not – it’s crazy.’ He adds, ‘Like grown men saying, “You don’t call me back!” But I’m sure if I was working at UPS no one would be bothered that I weren’t


calling them back. I’ve got a couple of people who’ve been having a conversation with themselves for the past year; I say that because all the text messages haven’t been responded to, but I see them though – it’s hard to really maintain friends.’


ON ICE...


As an artist who is clearly in the beginning trail of his career, Wale knows exactly where he wants to take his fans and career. His ambition is definitely something to be reckoned with, so much so we really don’t believe this will be the last we hear from the DC chillin’ star. His incredible flow, phenomenal team, together with his raw talent – there’s nothing else that sums him up right now other than ambition.


QUICK-FIRE ROUND


Most famous person you have on your phone? Jay [-Z].


International or US girls? I’ve probably made my decision before I’ve even heard their voice, I wouldn’t know. I go where the wind blows right now.


Fish and chips or Egusi soup? Egusi; the fish and chips I had has been slumming it the last couple of times I was out.


Walk on the beach or night in? A night in.


Love song or 16 bars [rap song]. 16 bars.


Follow Wale on Twitter @Wale or visit www.ralphfolarin.com


WWW.FLAVOURMAG.CO.UK 51


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