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Few artists are as criticized and misunderstood as Wale. From attacks on social media to others questioning his motives in signing with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group, the DMV native has endured despite it all. In a return to his hometown, Wale spoke on his creative process, the pressures of fame, and more ahead of a sold-out concert at the historic Howard Theater last Sunday (June 23).

Rap Radar founder and veteran journalist Elliott Wilson was also in town, inviting Wale to take part in the third installment of his #CRWN interview series. Although a two-hour delay nearly derailed the evening, Wilson and Wale got right to business in front of an attentive seated audience. Much like the dizzying array of topics Wale covers in his songs, the rapper was bold, bashful, reflective and confrontational, seemingly all at once.

In one especially telling portion of the chat, Wale said that being famous has not been his goal and he shies away from it. “Fame is evil,” said a passionate Wale. “I was just in the Safeway trying to buy the Washington Post and I just felt those eyes on me.”

Wale also spoke on dating women, especially those who are successful. “Rich girls don’t love art, rich women don’t love art,” explained Wale. “Look at all these celebrity women. They’ll be getting ready to be engaged to somebody, and next weekend they got another boyfriend. “

Wale continued with, “Girls where I’m from? There’s a down period. There’s a part where they break up, watch Waiting To Exhale, cut they hair, Tyler Perry marathon, then they put the ‘f-ck him, girl’ dress on.”

Wale also shared the process of creating his third album, The Gifted, working with Meek Mill and others, and viewing Jay-Z as a friendly competitor. “I do really feel I am the best rapper. That’s my goal,” said Wale.

After the hour-long chat, Wale thrilled a sold-out audience for the 93.9 WKYS-sponsored The Gifted album release concert. Running through hits old and recent, the rapper was at home – literally and otherwise, and it showed on his face.

Photos: LaVan Anderson, Hip-Hop Wired

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