Welcome to part two of my interview with Wale. While the 1st portion of the interview was based around Twitter and the industry, we then got more into music and Wale goes in about details of his album...
SD: Who are you listening to right now? New or old, what’s in Wale’s rotation?
Wale: K’Naan. K’Naan. I love K’Naan man….. Ummmmmm uh, this is breaking news but I just had to squash my beef with Mickey. Me and Mickey weren’t seeing eye to eye at all. At all. But there was another dude who was in between it, actually a rapper dude, I ain’t going to say his name though. So I’m just kinda starting to listen to him. We actually had a good conversation the other day though.
So you know, K’Naan. Pshh that’s the only person I’m excited about in music who’s new. I mean everyone is obviously going ga-ga for Drake. That’s a friend of mine but I just feel like some other people are making music just as interesting. Like have you heard K’Naan’s album?
SD: Yea we got it in a few weeks ago.
Wale: Yea it’s just so good! And if you have another copy I would love to get that, cause mine is stuck in my Lexus disc changer. It’s stuck! My joint’s broken! So my K’Naan CD is gone, my Padded Room is in there, what else? Oh Thriller is in there. So yea to give you an idea of what I’m listening to it’s K’Naan, Padded Room, Thriller, Back to the Feature, some songs that aren't completed yet, and the new UCB single.
SD: I think I lot of people are excited about that Back to the Feature tape. You’ve been really successful in capturing what a true concept album is with The Mixtape About Nothing and now Back to the Feature. So is the album conceptual at all?
Wale: It is and it isn’t. Cause ADD (the name of his debut album), Attention Deficit, is just life. (Looks at watch) What’s happening 7:15 on April 1st is just not going to be what’s happening at 7:15 on April 2nd. And essentially my album is a reflection of that. The 1st record is nothing like track 2 which is nothing like track 3 because every day is different.
The title is also kind of a play on words cause there is such a lack of attention in music, it’s so disposable. The people like K’Naan who are doing something interesting are not the ones who people are basing their opinions of hip hop on. “Hip hop is dead, hip hop is dead” How so? You have K’Naan making amazing records, Slaughterhouse making amazing records, Joe Budden making amazing records. Colin Monroe is putting out amazing music. So how can you say that music is dead? Is it us really? Or is it yall? Where is the attention?
I have records like “Her Diary” off of my album, which is me going in depth about a woman, a black woman just who has insecurity issues. Then I also have like “90210” which is about a white woman essentially who is willing to do anything to have everything. And everything to her, are things that don’t matter. “90210” …. “She’s tryin to borrow some money so she can party at Chow’s, just to be part of the crowd” …. And that’s basically what it is. Life as a whole is ADD. It’s all over the place. But sonically it smoothes out to a body of work with 12 or 13 or 14 records.
I’m excited about it. It’s just an honest perspective on life. That’s sounds a little bit pretentious or whatever but it really is real issues. For instance “Be Right” is a Cool & Dre record I got. It’s 3 situations that are fucked up. BUT they aren’t the worst thing that can happen. For instance “You graduate from college and now you got a masters, to feel better then all them other undergraduates” … So he’s graduated and can’t find a job. Just another person with Sally Mae debt.
SD: Haha, you know I can relate
Wale: Exactly! So it’s bad! …. But it’s not the end of the world. Then the next verse he’s contemplating his existence cause he’s 18 years old with a child. You used to party everyday but now you gotta go home to that little girl or boy. So no more smoking, chillin with your boys, instead you gotta go home and change diapers. It’s fucked up, it’s bad, BUT it’s not the end of the world. You aren’t in Somalia with you family held hostage.
Then the last verse is a girl who like… “She knew dudes are dogs. So what? Now you mad cause you found out he’s a dog officially? Now you trying to get ready, go to the club n get fly? But why it still hurt you inside” …. “Now you cut your hair, waiting to exhale / looking for your phonebook trying to get your ex’s cell” … You know “Did he call yet?” .. It’s bad but not the end of the world.
So yea it’s just all real, an honest perspective on life. There’s no street tales of me going into the local Kwik-e-Mart to rob it and shoot everybody, cause the average person doesn’t relate to that. And everything I do I try to let people know that I am human, I’m imperfect. Yea I’m highly favored to be in the position I am, but in the end of the day I am human. I break. I might spaz out on someone on Twitter cause like you say I don’t respond? Cause I’m too honest? That’s just what I do. Like dog if we were in a room this is what I would do.
I guess I just forget I’m an artist sometimes. Like there are certain guidelines that I have to follow, but you don’t get that in DC. You don’t get an old head that’s like “Yea this is what you can and cannot do”
My favorite, part 3, tomorrow.