Saturday, January 24, 2009

[News] HipHopDX Interview With Wale

Likely to be about as busy as his new neighbor at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in ’09, D.C. native Wale is utilizing the start of this new era in American political life to also jump start what is sure to become an equally life-altering time for DX's ’08 “Rookie of the Year”.

“Oh that was big,” he gushed when congratulated on the award. “’Cause I come to the site a lot, and I was starting to worry that DX might fall into the [trap of] like looking at some of the negative responses on some of my records and stuff [and not show love].”

Love was definitely shown to one of Hip-Hop's most talented new artists throughout DX’s recent year-end awards [click to read], as in addition to his taking home the title “Rookie of the Year,” Wale also received a runner-up nod in the “Mixtape of the Year” category for last summer’s The Mixtape About Nothing.

His “Seinfeld”-inspired mix may have proven to be the 24-year-old’s most noted release to date, but the artist who can effortlessly intertwine social commentary and street swagger (see: his hometown dissection disguised as a fly footwear anthem, “Nike Boots” is actually getting set to drop his fifth street album, dating back to his 2006 mixtape debut, Paint A Picture.

His newest mix, Back To The Feature, which Wale estimated will be hitting the streets around mid-March, is already halfway completed. The rising rookie, who has already collaborated with Hip Hop heavyweights the likes of Lil Wayne and The Roots, is just waiting on a few more features for Feature to be recorded before putting the finishing touches on the project.

Confirmed cameos on the mix include frequent collaborator Bun B, as well as fellow artists-on-the-rise Curren$y, Drake, and Skyzoo.

And while the tape is a joint effort between Wale and producer 9th Wonder, the young gun told DX that “There might be a couple records that ain’t 9th, maybe Black Milk, and a couple local producers as well. And I got a couple local emcees on there too, like Southeast Slim’s gonna be on it. X.O.’s gonna be on it, and Tre from UCB’s gonna be on it as well.”

The Allido/Interscope Records artist’s long-awaited major label debut is set to follow Back To The Feature and hit store shelves sometime in the Spring.

“We pressing up the [first] single right now,” Wale revealed. “It’s gonna be ‘Chillin,’ the real version.”

And unfinished version of the Cool & Dre produced track leaked to the ‘Net in December, and it appears that the Miami-based beatmakers played a major role in the creation of Wale’s currently untitled freshman long-player.

“We got a lot of Cool & Dre [production] on the album,” he revealed. “I don’t really have any rappers [on the album] except for Bun. And there’s one more person that might be on that record with me and Bun… Marsha Ambrosius is on [the album]. She’s amazing. [Rock band] TV On The Radio, who [haven’t] done anything with an emcee yet [are on the album]. We trying to push the envelope on creativity in music.”

In addition to Cool & Dre, trackwork for the album is being handled by D.C. production duo Best Kept Secret (who helmed the lion share of The Mixtape About Nothing), as well as the head of Allido, Mark Ronson.

“Mark’s been fine tuning a lot of the records [on the album],” said Wale. “He [took] a lot of records from A to A-plus.”

An additional track on Wale’s forthcoming album was laced by producer/deejay Green Lantern. According to Green, he recently produced two songs for Wale, one of which he told DX is locked-in for Wale’s first full-length.