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Exclusive Interview: One on One with Hip-Hop Artist Wale

Filed under : Africa, Entertainment, Music


Twisted locks boldly support a Washington Nationals [Washington D.C. based professional baseball team] fitted baseball cap perched on his head like a crown. The five-six tall Emcee, Wale is on stage going hard for his city!
To be sure, Olubowale Victor Folarin. The son of  Nigerian immigrants, Wale was exposed to all sorts of music in his home growing up. The evidence shows up on his highly anticipated album release, Attention: Deficit scheduled to be released on November 10, 2009.
Wale is the type of performer that endures. From his underground mix tapes and filling the pages of The Sources’ Unsigned Hype to gracing the cover of XXL as one of the ten future of hip hop artists, Wale’s victories have come with consistency. Yet-in-still, this budding rhyme slinger makes a seamless transition from college to stage.  Without a shadow of doubt, Wale has a fierce delivery, descriptive pro’s; so it’s really more than just rhyming to this dude.
Broad-shouldering his city (D.C.) and heritage (Nigeria), Wale opened up about his music but most importantly his take on the social ills surrounding his city, his passion, his perspective. Describe your sound? From Nigeria to D.C.
Wale: Its something I’m very proud of.  Go-Go music [sub-genre of funk that originated in the D.C during the mid- to late-1970s], R&B  are such rich and original genre. My dad’s musical tastes were all over the place. But I don’t think I have a particular sound it’s kinda like me going against the mainstream a little bit. Your songs deal with the dark side of love and insecurities?
Wale: I’ve been through a lot, I’m not suppressing it. I’m going straight at it; like, this is how I feel. Songs like Beautiful Bliss where I talk about a feeling of euphoria and being on a natural high or Her Diary which is about women who keep their guard up so as not to be vulnerable. What’s your perspective on the economic climate of your city ?
Wale: [Washington] DC is on of those places where you could understand why people walk around upset. The line between poverty and wealth is thin. Rich people can dump trash into poor people’s front yard and vice versa. It’s an interesting place… growing up in that area you almost forget that (the election of) Barak Obama even happened.

Washington DC [much like Lagos, Nigeria] is an intensely musical city, volatile, stratified, somewhat disenfranchised. Natives often chirp about the ‘crab-in-the-bucket’ syndrome when it comes to artists’ getting up and out. But without struggle there is no progress. And when the artists do get out, boy, watch out!

Photo & Interview: F. Carlton Peeples [Exclusively for]

farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.

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