Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past year, or you just recently decided to give the whole internet thing a shot and this is the first website you’ve ever visited, you’ve heard about Wale. Even 4080 is on the ball when it comes to this dude; check out an earlier post Angry wrote about Wale’s upcoming Seinfeld mixtape project, the Mixtape About Nothing.
So why all the hype? Well, if you believe CMJ, it’s because, like the “recent line of Commons, Kanye Wests and Lupe Fiascos,” the Washington D.C.-based rapper has the potential to “straddle the line between mainstream and indie rap.” By fusing the up-tempo, effervescent funk of D.C.’s go-go movement with clever, punch-line laden rhymes and covers of current hits, Wale does indeed appeal to a broad audience. Indie hipsters love him for his remixes (Wale’s rhymed over Lilly Allen’s “Smile“, Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” and Justice’s hit “D.A.N.C.E.” as well as hip-hop classics like Common’s “The Light” and Ghostface’s “Daytona 500”) and hip-hop heads are going bananas for his ridiculous raps (“Good rappers ain’t eatin, they Olsen twinnin'”). To date Wale has released three mixtapes, all of which continue to receive love from music blogs of every stripe.
As a result of his success and subsequent exposure, Wale gained the attention of several record labels. In April, he signed a record deal with producer Mark Ronson’s Allido Records, whose albums are distributed by Interscope. The question now is whether Wale can translate his underground popularity into mainstream success. Deprived of the ability to cover current hits, will he still appeal to heads outside of the DMV (the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area)? I hope so.
In the meantime, check out some of Wale’s best tracks, including his guest appearance on The Roots’ new album Rising Down.
Wale – W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E. (100 Miles and Running, 2007)
45 King vs. Wale – P.Y.R.A.M.I.D. (Sammy Bananas Mix) (?, 2008)
The Roots ft. Wale & Chrisette Michele – Rising Up (Rising Down, 2008)
To download all 3 Wale mixtapes, visit Werd 2 Big Bird.