Wale Interview (part 2): Discusses Attention Deficit


Culture VI: Do you consider your career where you’re at right now? It sounds like you do.

Wale: I obsess, I OBSESS…over success. And I’m not there yet.

Culture VI: Okay. What is success? What’s your personal definition?

Wale: It’s within. I know the bum standing under the bridge on New York Avenue in DC might feel successful some days. It has nothing to do with personal wealth, how much pussy you get, how much money you got. In my mind, I have an unexplainable goal that I have to reach and I won’t know it until I’m there. When I’m there, I’ll know, but it’s just not now. I can’t define what successful is. The day I can define successful, a blind man can describe what yellow looks like.

Culture VI: Alright, let me ask you this question. How close to fulfilling your potential were you on Attention Deficit. Like, if your talent is a 10, where was that album? How reflective of your talent was that album?

Wale: Albums are like, this is about to sound so cliche, but albums are like journal entries. I just wrote down what I’m feeling. So who the fuck is anybody to tell me that what I’m feeling isn’t conducive to life? It’s conducive to my life. I really went into a bathroom and seen girls doing blow! I wrote about it, you like to hear it? Here it go. “Chillin” – that was my shit! When I wrote it, I was feeling it! That’s what I was feeling. And I’m doing the same thing with this Ambition album. I put everything that I’m feeling now. And I’m older now, I wrote Attention Deficit like 3 years ago.

Culture VI: But, when you’re talking about music, you’re not just talking about the words and the feelings you write down, you’re talking about how you put those feelings down behind the music. How you craft it and craft the songs. And when you listen to Attention Deficit right now, was that very reflective of your talent or could you have done more? Do you feel like where you were at that part of life was reflected on the album?

Wale: With all due respect, and I say this with confidence because I know there’s a thin line between confidence and cockiness, that’s why we’re on the phone right now. You’re going to hear Attention Deficit tomorrow, or sometime after this interview, and you’re going to hear 3 or 4 things that you didn’t notice. And I promise you that. And I don’t even know you. I think that’s good music. I think that’s what good music is.

Culture VI: So you feel it was reflective of your talent level?

Wale: Listen, I have no reason in my mind to believe that if some of them records got the exposure – I got the whole video for “90210” now and everybody was thinking– these people that came on board recently will think it’s a new record. And they’ll probably call the radio station and ask for it, or they’ll probably try to find it. And then they’ll feel silly, because it’s been out for 2 years. But the timing is everything. Timing is 100% everything. Me and J Cole dropping in 94? Quatruple platinum in 94! Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, me, all of us? WIZ KHALIFA?! You trying to tell me Wiz Khalifa was nominated for Best New Artist? You talking about the same Wiz Khalifa that I was bumping in college?! Oh okay. Timing is everything, my brother. And at the time, when I wrote Attention Deficit, it was the time. And Ambition will be the time. The only difference now is the microphone is a lot louder. And niggaz got that fucking fuckery out they ears.

Culture VI: Alright, you mentioned 90210. You had that, Shades, Diary. I mean, you had some very lyrical type records…

Wale: Was I cocky back then?

Culture VI: On the records, or right now?

Wale: No! I’m giving you what you want. Was I cocky back then? That was the question I’m asking

Culture VI: Honestly, I listened to the album. I didn’t get the cockiness sense as much when I listened to the album the first time, I was really just starting to check your stuff, I had listened to the mixtapes first.

Wale: So what did you think?

Culture VI: My personal opinion? I wasn’t very impressed by the album. I mean, I liked some of it…

Wale: Good, I’m glad though. The album probably wasn’t for you. I don’t know you, but I don’t think you’re a woman. I don’t think you would relate to Shades.

Culture VI: I thought Shades was very well written though. That was actually one of the records I liked. I liked Shades, I liked Diary. I felt you on those because it sounded like you. What I personally felt, as I started listening to your catalogue, I started hearing a lot of the same type of records, especially when I listen to Self Made. I was listening to Self Made, and I was trying to wonder where this wonder kid Wale went because I just started hearing–

Wale: The wonder kid of Wale hadn’t been born yet, because apparently my first album wasn’t to your standards or to your liking. And, what you got to understand, in Hip Hop, when did you ever hear Biggie rap like how he rapped on Notorious Thugs? On Notorious Thugs right? So..if, in fact, that’s “infack” too, that’s a DC word, “infack”. If in fact, Bone Thugs and Harmony and Biggie both went diamond, and then said “You know what? Let’s do an album together.” I’m quite sure…that the greatest rapper of all-time…would be rapping like Bone. Would be rapping like Notorious Thugs. And I’m pretty sure, God bless the dead, if Biggie’s album would have came out AFTER that, he’d be rapping like motherfucking Christopher Wallace! Next question, please…

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  • yeah definitively, you give him opportunities to explain himself about the music and his attitude.
    I don’t know if he was high, he was messing with you or he’s just dumb

  • This interview was a dissappointment u were a good interviewer wale was jus answering the questions like he wanted 2 hear himself speak

  • Ok..either I really need to brush up on my reading comprehension, or Wale is a czar at redirectional, unguided responces and has mastered speaking in utter syntax. Honestly, if anyone was able to pick apart what was said by Wale, please share. VI asked some terrific, point blank, specific questions. And again, what I loved, is his honesty upon being asked about Attn Def. Somehow, he managed to not only deflect direct questions, but, while being pretentious, tell someone (6), why they’re the one that has an understanding issue b/c they didnt like his album. And yet 6 kindly states quite the contrary. Also, how ironic is it, that the album of discussion is what Wale seem’s to suffer from? Lastly, well…how he likens himself to a hypethetical Biggie situation, and schooling 6 on some “DC” verbage….it just enriches the soul! Im curious to know how the direction of this conversation would have gone if 6 told him he felt the album was catagorically an unrecognized, under appreciated classic?

    • I give him tons of credit for speaking, but I agree in that I don’t think he really answered the questions. Everything was an analogy. I think I get what he was TRYING to say, but he just had a long winded, confusing way of saying it

  • I really think you would have to be from the DMV area to really understand why Wale is so arrogant he’s accomplish something a lot of people have tried an still failed, making it out of the DMV ( Balimore is not the DMV everything up there is completely different from PG/DC but that’s another story). Im 23, live in PG County the Largo area to be exact an like he’s said many times in his rhymes, people hate everything anyone does here. I can only imagine the struggles this dude had to go thru just to even make it out the city.Let me try to paint a picture, PG County is the richest black county the UNITED STATES this gives people in this area a ” fuck that nigga” type of attitude. On one hand there black people who have money from having careers working with the government/private sector then you have people who sold drugs during the huge drug boom of the 80’s and 90’s with Rayful Edmunds and turned it into legit businesses or something. Regardless you can have these 2 type of black people driving the same Benz or living in the same neighborhood. I personal think this where the ” fuck that nigga ” mentality comes from. For example I can say “I just bought a Benz” the someone would say “So my uncle got same one and it’s probably better” or I might say “My man rap he nice” then someone would yell out ” So my cousin rap he’d probably shit on your man”….Basically it’s everyman for himself down here nobody gets together to move forward because everyone got that “I’m better or I know someone who’s better” then whatever movement you have going on type of attitude. Look how long it took DC to produce a mainstream rapper. This is just a city who’s at least black community doesn’t support the hometeam. You can even look the Sports how can you have a rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys and there is just as much if not more cowboys fans in DC. He even said it in his Nike Boot verse ” People to busy cheering the Stars” ( Stars = Established Rappers, Cowboys Logo). Also people may not know this but DC wants a ” gangster” rapper sooooo bad they want people to understand ” yea the presidentleicesters here but you can still get touched in these streets” (which you can in some parts of the city and PG) so that was another thing Wale had going against him when he was trying to come up…. All in all he may say things without thinking ( We all do) but I have the utmost respect for him for making it out of this city full of crabs and still putting on for DMV

    • I lived in DC for 6 years, then Largo for 2 years. Being an outsider I got to observe the DC culture and I don’t really agree with what you said. It’s not people from PG trying to outdo each other, to me it was more so people from PG ALREADY FELT like they had outdone outsiders who moved in. The cockiness was terrible. Every Saturday night it was (and still is) a car & motorcycle show at the Largo Town Center Boulevard, and this is culture that Wale was brought up in. I laugh at Wale exactly like I laughed at those clowns. The same thing happens in fast food & gas station parking lots all around the area. I can’t take them seriously.

      As far as not supporting the home team, I agree on the football reference (it amazed me that half of the city is Cowboys fans) but with music? You guys are almost xenophobic. Unless it’s a HUGE star (until Lil Wayne was becoming unavoidable, y’all didn’t mess with him), it’s all about UCB, Chuck, BYB, Critical Condition, etc. You all did support Tabi Bonney too, his problem was he’s too DC and that doesn’t connect with the rest of the country.

      The problem is, it’s not a city of crabs. It’s a city of people who gravitate to people who share the Wale “we’re too good for this shit” mentality instead of giving people like Kev Brown, Critical Acclaim, Oddisee & Kenn Starr, people who real talents & humble a chance to rep them.

  • My last comment should have really been on part 1 but this is the newest post therefore giving it a better chance of being seen

  • Again, big props to him for agreeing to speak but, to me, as soon as he said the word “cocky” the interview went downhill. He said something in the area of “I try not to overthink music” and it seems like he’s over-thinking his significance right now. He doesn’t seem to grasp that being able to do something you love is waking up to a gift every day, and with that, you should be humbled and appreciative of “regular people” who even give half a fuck about what you say. A “target” on his back? Who the fuck says to themselves, “I’m really trying to outdo Wale!” Lol. Don’t get me wrong, I wish him nothing but the best, but to be so intelligent, he didn’t pick his words or angles right in this interview. Too many emcees rap circles around him right now for him to even begin to feel entitled to shit lol.

  • He is a talented rapper, but has no idea how to portray himself. Who is Wale? Will the real Wale please stand up.

    I can’t believe he used a Notorious BIG analogy by the way.

  • Wale should run for Eleanor Holmes-Norton’s spot in the House. This guy dodges questions and gives bloated, hard to follow, empty answers better than she ever could. I honestly don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about anymore because nothing he says seems to correlate with the questions Culture is asking.