After a monumental year in music in 2009, Wale’s 100 miles and running in 2010.
With the release of his debut album Attention Deficit, he garnered both praise and hardship with crippling first week sales due to under shipment alongside a movement of fans searching relentlessly for the finished project.
Moving past that, there was a rumored “friendship” with Beyonce’s sister Solange, an ongoing relationship column and a onslaught of television and radio appearances that broke this once locally known artist into a national rap staple.
[Check out the rest of our interview with Wale after the jump]
Wale’s a busy man, so in between continuing his “No Days Off” campaign—a daily effort to remain on the grind, D.C.’s Diplomat took time out to tell HipHopWired about his potential next video, his reaction to critics who question where he’s really from and offered a little insight on his views of the District.
HipHopWired: First of all, congratulations on the success of Attention Deficit. Everything panned out even though it was shaky at first, but coming out of the gate so strong with your debut album what are your plans to top that?
Wale: Well, I’m not really trying to top that joint right now, because there’s such a small amount of people that have got the album that I’m just trying to create more awareness about it because I’m very passionate about it.
HipHopWired: So what are you doing to raise more awareness about it?
Wale: Just shooting videos and doing my own thing by myself.
HipHopWired: Going back and looking at your mixtapes , like “100 Miles and Runnin’”, “Paint a Picture” and “Mixtape About Nothing”, your real fans would say you stayed true to your artistic integrity, but then you have people on the other side who would kind of say that you are selling about by working with Lady Gaga and Jasmine Sullivan, so what do you have to say to people who say that?
Wale: Well when I worked with Lady Gaga she was nowhere near as big as she is now, so it was actually one of those things where it wasn’t “selling out” at that point because she was really new. She was a new chick with so much energy and so much spunk and I wanted to convey that in the record. As far as Jasmine Sullivan goes, her album is soul, she makes soul music and that’s what I do. That’s my whole big influence, music that touches your soul, either it’s going to be a tearjerker or it’s something that makes your day better, just soul music. When they say selling out, that’s the second time I’ve ever heard that, but when they say that I think it’s just something people like to say. If you’re getting exposure, that’s just more people trying to Fawk with your music.
HipHopWired: Moving past the people that you say are hating by saying you’re selling out, what about the other people that are also saying “Wale’s not really from D.C., why isn’t he repping Maryland?” What do you say to people who say that?
Wale: That’s just real petty. I was born in Washington D.C. and I live in Maryland now, it’s as simple as that. I think sometimes people are just trying to find anything they can say to say. I’ve done everything but get the key to this city. I’ve performed at the Red Skins game, I’ve done countless amounts of charity work, I’m very, very, very influential in the community and with all the sports teams being D.C. based I live 5 minutes away from there now. I don’t think we work so hard to stay in the same place, you know?
HipHopWired: Let’s talk more about D.C., you kind of introduced the world to Fat Trel and Black Cobain, what is it about the two of them that really caught your attention and made you want to help bring them out?
Wale: I’m just somebody who’s passionate about music. I just feel like I didn’t necessarily do the numbers that I wanted to do and I haven’t got to where I want to get with my career, but I think it’s still time that I started helping others get to where they want to go with their careers, it’s really important to me. I think Black has something about him that that’s kind of like the boy next-door sort of thing. He thinks a lot, breaks bread with dudes, very humble and I just appreciate what he brings to the table.
HipHopWired: Now are you’re planning on doing a lot more of the live U-Streams and letting your fans come and watch you guys actually record the music and then release it later on that day?
Wale: Mmm hmm, it’s just part of my whole campaign, my whole no days off campaign.
HipHopWired: You brought in a lot of praise for your articles that you did for Honey on relationships. Everyone loved them but are you looking at maybe a book or maybe just like a blog for whenever you get inspired?
Wale: Like I said, it’s just no days off, it could be anything. Everything I do every day is dedicated to being great. I just make sure everything I do is part of my dedication to progress who I am as a man.
HipHopWired: In the actual articles you defined “that thing.” You had the whole “this is the year of that that thing” idea going on and you described it as “an anomaly, it’s unexplainable.” Is it still unexplainable to you or did you figure it out now? Are you still riding around in the Northface and the ball shorts?
Wale: Not anymore, I’m feeling pursuit. I still have the pessimistic mask on, but I’m feeling pursuit.
HipHopWired: Let’s talk about “Diary”, you’re working on the video and this is the first time that you wrote the treatment for one of your videos. Are you still scheduled to drop that, I heard you’re dropping that soon?
Wale: It depends on the avenue and the media that it gets through, I’m going to play it for a couple of networks and see what they say, but I think the people will get it a lot sooner than later.
HipHopWired: Did all the negative backlash you got from “Pretty Girls” affect the way you went about this video at all or did you just move past that?
Wale: I believe that God puts things in front of you to shake your future decisions. My decision is that I’m going to always be hands on for my videos from now on. I have to. Nobody can convey my thoughts better than me. I’m not going to say I was lazy for it, I just feel like a rapper should rap and a director should direct, but now I feel like a rapper should rap, he should direct, write, counsel, he should do whatever. He should be more than just a rapper.
HipHopWired: Do you already know what the next single is going to be? Are we going to get “Shades” or “90210”?
Wale: I’m not really sure right now, that’s something I will have to talk to management about, it might be “Beautiful Bliss”.
HipHopWired: Let’s talk about D.C. some more and about the politics that are going on right now. You’re known for having strong opinions, can you give me your opinion on what you think about the healthcare bill finally getting passed. What about all these black politicians that are getting targeted and getting pictures of nooses with racial slurs being thrown around?
Wale: I kind of stay away from the politics side because I feel like if I get involved in it that I’m going to go too hard. I’d rather mess around and have my vision 20/20 than turn into a renegade.
HipHopWired: Can you say anything? Are you excited about the healthcare bill at least?
Wale: I’m definitely excited about it, but I’m not as privied to that political world as a lot of other people because I’m too passionate about things. Like if I’m interested into a sporting event I could get into blows just because I’m real passionate about what I’m into.
HipHopWired: With your passion for sports, are you looking to do more on ESPN?
Wale: Absolutely, yeah.
HipopWired: How do you feel about D.C.’s fight for statehood? Do you think that would help the district economically?
Wale: This is one of those things I have to be politically correct with. I don’t think so and I think there still will be a lot more issues if it does become a state. I think maybe even more, they always keep D.C. with issues.
HipHopWired: On your mixtapes you always talked about bringing D.C. a Grammy, in your opinion has that Grammy winning song been written or are you still working on it and it’s still coming up for you?
Wale: I feel like I have a lot of Grammy winning records on my album. The timing was an issue and stuff but I believe that I’ll be recognized soon enough.
HipHopWired: Before I let you go, there was this whole rumored relationship with Solange and then we kind of just never heard any more about that. Are you guys still cool or what happened with that?
Wale: That’s my homegirl, we’re friends.
HipHopWired: And that’s it?
Wale “Pretty Girls Remix” feat. Chris Brown and Fabolous