Wale (rapper): Wikis



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Performing in Atlanta in March 2008.
Background information
Birth name Olubowale Folarin
Born September 21, 1984 (age 25)
Genres Alternative hip hop, go-go
Occupations Rapper
Years active 2005–present
Labels Allido, Interscope,
Website www.walemusic.com

Olubowale Folarin (born September 21, 1984), better known by his stage name Wale (pronounced /ˈwɑːleɪ/), is an American hip hop artist from Washington, D.C. He rose to prominence in 2006, when his song "Dig Dug (Shake It)" became popular in his hometown. Wale became locally recognized and continued recording music for the regional audience. Producer Mark Ronson discovered Wale in 2007 and signed Wale to his Allido Records in 2007. While signed to that label, Wale released several mixtapes and appeared in national media including MTV News and various urban magazines. In 2008, Wale signed to Interscope Records, and his debut album Attention Deficit was released in 2009 with the singles "Chillin", "Pretty Girls", and "My Sweetie".


Early life

Wale was born in Washington, D.C.[1] His parents are of the Yoruba ethnic group of southwestern Nigeria and came to the United States from Austria in 1979. He has two older brothers, one of whom, Alvin, lives in New York City working for a record label. Wale's family first lived in the Northwest section of Washington.[2] His father worked as a cab driver in the D.C. area.[3] He graduated from Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg in 2001 and moved to Largo, Maryland in 2003.[4] Wale attended Robert Morris University and Virginia State University on football scholarships, then transferred to Bowie State University but dropped out.[2][1] Wale's boyhood love of the game of football and the Washington Redskins has led to a longstanding rumor that Wale had a tattoo of tight end Chris Cooley.[5]



"Rhyme of the Century" was Wale's first-ever song played on local radio. He was featured in the "Unsigned Hype" column of The Source. Wale signed to the young local label Studio 43 in 2006. "Dig Dug (Shake It)" became popular in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia and was a tribute to Robert "Dig Dug" Dixon, lead singer of go-go band Northeast Groovers.[1] The song became the most requested song by a local artist in D.C. radio history and Wale was the first local artist to get any BDS spins since DJ Kool in the early 1990s. The song was included in Wale's first mixtape, Paint a Picture.

In July 2006, Wale hired Daniel Weisman, a former club DJ and promoter, as his manager. In September 2006, after dropping another go-go influenced single, "Breakdown", sampled from Huck-a-Bucks "Sexy Girl" and getting a mention in The Washington Post[6], Wale released his first non-go-go original single, "Uptown Roamers." On September 14, 2006, "Uptown Roamers" debuted on XM Radio Channel 66 and was played twice in one day. Both "Breakdown" and "Uptown Roamers" were on Wale's second mixtape, Hate Is the New Love. Wale's song "Breakdown," was featured on the video game Madden NFL 2009.

Wale won the award for "D.C. Metro Breakthrough Artist of the Year" at WKYS' Go-Go Awards in November 2006.[7] On December 15, The Fader magazine associate editor Nick "Catchdubs" Barat visited Wale for an interview and photo shoot which appeared in the March 2007 issue of The Fader.[8]

In January 2007, Wale released a new single to radio called "Good Girls" produced by Gerard Thomas and Demario Bridges for TeamMusicGroup. Wale later appeared on Mark Ronson's remix of Lily Allen's "Smile"[9] and was a headliner on Ronson's UK tour that year promoting Ronson's debut album Version.[10][11] In June 2007, Wale signed to a production deal with Ronson's Allido Records.[12]

National attention and major label signing

Wale released his third mixtape, 100 Miles & Running, on July 11, 2007 as a free download on his Myspace page. This mixtape includes features from Mark Ronson, Daniel Merriweather, Amy Winehouse, and Lily Allen. It was released on the same day as his performance at the Highline Ballroom, in Manhattan. The Highline show was to promote the US release of Mark Ronson's album and included performances by Mark Ronson, Wale, Saigon, and Daniel Merriweather. Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, Maroon 5, Clive Davis, Eve and Danny Masterson were all in attendance. There, Wale was interviewed by MTV News correspondent J.D. Tuminski for his first national TV feature on August 16, 2007.[13] With Ronson, Wale performed "W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E.", a remix of Justice's "D.A.N.C.E." from Wale's 100 Miles mixtape, at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada.[14] The Washington Post profiled Wale on the front page of the Sunday Style section in the October 21, 2007 edition.[2] Wale was featured on the cover of the 150th issue of URB along with French electro group Justice.

In March 2008, Wale signed a joint venture deal with Mark Ronson's Allido Records and Interscope, joining Rhymefest and Daniel Merriweather as Allido artists.[15] Epic Records, Atlantic Records, and Def Jam all competed to sign Wale.[1] On May 30, Wale released his fourth mixtapeThe Mixtape About Nothing, heavily produced by Best Kept Secret.[16] Wale said that the television show Seinfeld inspired The Mixtape About Nothing: "the TV show's 'honest dialogue' mirrors his lyrical style, which frequently references pop culture and politics while avoiding gangster-rap bluster".[3]

After signing with Interscope, Wale began recording tracks for his major label debut: in a 2008 interview with Express, a newspaper published by the Washington Post Company, Wale announced that he was recording a song with Chrisette Michele called "Shades", which discusses inter-black racism.[17] Wale also appeared on Interscope label mate DJ Greg Street's single "Dope Boys" which samples Hip Hop classic T.R.O.Y. alongside Lupe Fiasco and Kardinal Offishall.[18] Rapper Young Chris of rap duo Young Gunz also began plans for a collaboration mixtape with Wale.[19]

On June 19, 2009, Wale released his fifth mixtape, Back to the Feature, on which eleven of the tracks were produced by 9th Wonder, with contributions also coming from Mark Ronson and others.[20] The album's title, a play off the name of the movie Back to the Future, referred to the fact that a lengthy list of rappers joined Wale on the songs, including K'naan, Talib Kweli, Joell Ortiz, Beanie Sigel and Bun B.[21] The mixtape received positive reviews from Vibe magazine[21] and website Pitchfork Media,[22] but Colin McGowan of Cokemachineglow commented that it represented neither "a step forward or back [for the artist] so much as shouting-in-place."[23]

Wale did a guest performance on "Change", a song by the Australian singer/songwriter Daniel Merriweather. It was written by Merriweather and Andrew Wyatt and produced by Jayceon Dolinh and Mark Ronson. It was released on January 30, 2009, in the United States and Canada, and February 2, 2009, in the UK (where the song peaked at no.8). The song is included on Merriweather's album Love & War.

On September 13, Wale, alongside the DC-based musicians of UCB (Uncalled 4 Band), served as the official house band for the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.[24]

Debut album

On November 10 Wale released his first studio album, Attention Deficit, to primarily positive reception. It debuted at the number 21 spot and sold 28,000 copies in its first week. Daniel Weisman, Wale's manager, claimed that Interscope didn't ship enough copies of the album.[25] The first single off Attention Deficit was "Chillin", featuring Lady Gaga, followed by "Pretty Girls" featuring Gucci Mane and Weensey and "World Tour" featuring Jazmine Sullivan.

Musical style

In an interview with Flavorwire, Wale said that he incorporates elements of go-go in his music.[26] Cyril Cordor of allmusic described go-go as "a more raw, percussion-driven offshoot of disco" that originated in the Washington, D.C. area. Wale's early singles that were played primarily in his local metropolitan area heavily sampled 1980s go-go records.[1] Reviewing Attention Deficit, David Jeffries of allmusic remarked that Wale had a "post-Kanye, post-Lil Wayne, alternative-meets-hardcore style" and commented that Wale's single "Chillin'", which featured Lady Gaga, "crafts an instant floor-filler out of a sample from the '70s hit 'Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye'".[27]



Year Album Chart positions[28]
U.S. U.S. R&B U.S. Rap
2009 Attention Deficit 21 3 2


Year Single Peak chart positions[29] Album
2007 "Nike Boots" Non-album song
2009 "Chillin" (featuring Lady Gaga) 99 73 12 19 29 Attention Deficit
"World Tour" (featuring Jazmine Sullivan)
"Pretty Girls" (featuring Gucci Mane and Weensey) 56
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Featured singles

Year Single Artists Peak chart positions Album
2008 "Rising Up" The Roots
(featuring Chrisette Michele)
- - Rising Down
2009 "Change" Daniel Merriweather 41 8 71 11 6 Love & War
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Music videos

Year Title Director(s)
2006 "Uptown Roamers"
2008 "W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E."
"The Artistic Integrity"
"Nike Boots"
2009 "Chillin'" Chris Robinson
"Family Affair" Rick Cordero
2010 "My Sweetie" Tabi Bonney
"Pretty Girls"


  1. ^ a b c d e Cordor, Cyril. "Wale > Biography". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:g9fwxze5ld6e~T1. Retrieved November 26, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c Wiltz, Teresa (October 21, 2007). "The Great Rap (Clown)Hope". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/19/AR2007101900655_pf.html. Retrieved November 25, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Lipshutz, Jason (July 17, 2009). "Rapper Wale 'Chillin Out On The Charts". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/rapper-wale-chillin-out-on-the-charts-1003995136.story. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 
  4. ^ Everett, John Burgess (August 12, 2009). "The DMV finds its voice". The Gazette. http://www.gazette.net/stories/08122009/entenew131835_32521.shtml. Retrieved November 26, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Fast Facts About Hip-Hop Star Wale And The Redskins". The Official Washington Redskins Blog. December 2, 2009. http://blog.redskins.com/2009/12/02/fast-facts-about-hip-hop-star-wale-and-the-redskins/. Retrieved December 23, 2009. 
  6. ^ Hahn, Fritz; Anderson, Rhome; Malitz, David (August 31, 2006). "Nightlife Agenda". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/30/AR2006083002583.html#Friday. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  7. ^ Smith-Barrow, Delece (November 30, 2006). "Go-Go Shines for a Night as District Luminaries Honor Its Stars". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/29/AR2006112900993.html. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  8. ^ "New slang: raised on Reaganomics, go-go, and the neverending pursuit of freshness, Wale and Tabi Bonney rap for the capitol". The Fader. March 2007. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_6718/is_2007_March/ai_n28424667/. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  9. ^ "DC to LDN: Wale’s Lily Allen Remix". The Fader. March 12, 2007. http://www.thefader.com/2007/3/12/dc-to-ldn-wales-lily-allen-remix/. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  10. ^ Kayser, Brian (April 27, 2007). "Wale Touring Overseas With Mark Ronson". HipHopGame. http://www.hiphopgame.com/news.php3?id=1618. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Wale’s Manager Explains Rapper’s Affiliation With Roc Nation". XXL. May 26, 2009. http://www.xxlmag.com/online/?p=47408. Retrieved December 20, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Wale Signs to Interscope". OnSmash. March 12, 2008. http://content.onsmash.com/archives/334. Retrieved December 20, 2009. 
  13. ^ Tuminski, J.D. (August 16, 2007). "Mark Ronson Calls Protege Wale A Cross Between Lil Wayne, Lupe Fiasco And Nas". MTV News. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1567299/20070816/index.jhtml. Retrieved December 23, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Mark Ronson – "D.A.N.C.E. (Live)"". 2007 VMA: The Entire 2007 MTV Video Music Awards On-Demand. MTV. September 9, 2007. 
  15. ^ Burgess, Omar (March 13, 2008). "Wale Signs With Interscope". HipHopDX. http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.6545/title.wale-signs-with-interscope. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  16. ^ Daniels, Adam (June 2, 2008). "Wale releases Seinfeld-themed mixtape? Get out!". Paste. http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2008/06/wale-releases-seinfeldthemed-mixtape-get-out.html. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Home Grown: Wale". Express. July 24, 2008. http://www.expressnightout.com/content/2008/07/home_grown_wale.php. Retrieved December 20, 2009. 
  18. ^ "DJ Greg Street ft. Lupe Fiasco, Wale & Kardinal Offishall - Dope Boys (Remix)". DJBooth.net. http://www.djbooth.net/index/tracks/radio/greg-street-ft-lupe-fiasco-wale-kardinal-offishall-dope-boys-remix/. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Exclusive elitaste.com Young Chris Interview". elitaste.com. July 29, 2008. http://elitaste.com/blog/2008/07/29/exclusive-elitastecom-young-chris-interview/. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  20. ^ Paine, Jake (June 17, 2009). "Wale Discusses Back To The Feature, 9th Wonder". HipHopDX. http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.9314/title.wale-talks-about-back-to-the-feature-9th-wonder. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  21. ^ a b Blanco, Alvin (June 24, 2009). "Wale, "Back to the Feature"". Vibe. http://www.vibe.com/music/revolutions/2009/06/revs_wale_back_to_the_feature/. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Album Reviews: Wale: Back to the Feature". Pitchfork. 2009-07-08. http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/13241-back-to-the-feature/. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  23. ^ McGowan, Colin (July 10, 2009). "Wale: Back to the Feature". cokemachineglow. http://www.cokemachineglow.com/record_review/4666/wale-backtothefeature-2009. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  24. ^ Roberts, Steven (August 31, 2009). "Wale Talks About Following DJ AM, Travis Barker As VMA House Band". MTV News. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1620471/20090831/wale__2_.jhtml. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Update: Wale Sells 28K in First Week, Manager Claims LP Was Under Shipped". XXL. November 18, 2009. http://www.xxlmag.com/online/?p=62988. Retrieved December 20, 2009. 
  26. ^ Dvorkin, Eli (January 26, 2009). "Exclusive: Wale on the Real DC, TVOTR, and Balancing Content and Flow". Flavorwire. http://flavorwire.com/8938/exclusive-wale-on-the-virtues-of-dc-and-tv. Retrieved December 23, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Attention Deficit: Review". allmusic. November 10, 2009. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:wvftxzwaldde~T1. Retrieved December 23, 2009. 
  28. ^ "Wale: Charts & Awards: Billboard Albums". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:g9fwxze5ld6e~T50. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Wale - Chart History - R&B Songs". Billboard.com. http://www.billboard.com/new-releases/wale-attention-deficit-1004049907.story#/artist/wale/chart-history/962199?f=367&g=Singles. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 

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