Chillin' with Wale at the Seminole Hard Rock
For a guy who’s been christened “the Great Rap Hope” (Washington Post), “the future” (XXL), the next Kanye (URB), and so on, D.C. rapper Wale (pronounced wah-lay) is as coolheaded as they come.
Tbt* chilled with the Seinfeld-lovin’, shoe-stackin’ rapper before his appearance at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Thursday night, where he told us about his upcoming release Attention Deficit, how he connected with some unlikely guest stars, and why his live shows are “like snowflakes.”
Tell me about the new single Chillin’ and how you hooked up with Lady Gaga.
I liked her. I liked her music for a long time. I wanted to do something that was really hip, lighthearted and really fun, you know. And we’re labelmates now. She doesn’t do rap songs, but she liked my energy and my music.
Another seemingly unlikely lady, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (a.k.a. Elaine from Seinfeld), appeared on your Mixtape About Nothing. Did you just call her and say, 'Want to be on a hip-hop record?'
Yeah, she’s actually cool with a friend of mine. Honestly, it really wasn’t hard. With my music, you don’t get like “idiot shivers” (laughs) playing it for somebody in a suit, or someone that’s not really into hip-hop.
So you’re a big Seinfeld fan?
I am probably one of the biggest Seinfeld buffs that you’re going to find on this side of the Mason-Dixon Line (laughs).
Tell me about your work with our own Tampa guys/production team, J.U.S.T.I.C.E League.
Those dudes, man, they came through in the clutch. We did Artistic Integrity Part Two [inspired by a George Costanza rant], which is kind of my outlook about being at a very minimal level of fame. I am not Kanye or Jay-Z, but I have acquired some level of notoriety – it’s just my analysis.
So why should we see Wale live? I’ve seen you blog things like, “My shows are like snowflakes - every one is different.”
(Laughs) Yeah, I have a live band. I conduct it while I am rapping. I might just feel stringy one day, and go heavy on the stings. I might feel horny one day and play some Jodeci. Get it? (Laughs) Sorry. Sometimes I want to get the drums up, or interact with the crowd more. And a lot of times, I make up songs on stage, about anything.
What do you like about hip-hop or about what you do?
I love that I am comfortable in my skin. I don’t have to worry about trying to keep up with having the latest jewelry or the latest cars. They’ll say Wale’s a speaker, or Wale’s got socially-conscious records and got fun records – he’s got a record with Gucci Mane and Lady Gaga. Doing what you want is more valuable than selling records or being something that you’re not.
-- Carole Giambalvo, tbt*. Photo by Luis Santana, tbt*.