Wale on How to Make It
If ever he tires of the rap game, Wale could still be an invaluable asset to the genre by telling up-and-coming rappers how it's played. In a relatively short time, he's gained an uncommonly clear-eyed view of the music business, learning his way around pitfalls other artists have taken years to sort out. If you have dreams of taking mic in hand and showing the world your talent, you may want to consider Wale's hard-won advice.
On rapping as a job:
Don't get in this game for the money. Get in the game 'cause you love it, 'cause the money ain't what you think it is. That's one of the biggest misconceptions of rap. You get a deal 'cause you can rap. You get the money 'cause you can hustle. And that's something to live by. If you're a rapper and you get a record deal, just know this: You have a job now, that's all.
Do interviews like this [one], 'cause you know it's gonna benefit something — something might come from it later. Stay in the studio an extra two hours. Do some freestyling with some DJs. That's hustle.
On feeling what you do:
I think to call yourself an artist, and you're not sensitive — that don't mix. The whole concept of art is to convey emotions. What are you conveying if you're not in tune with any emotion?
On taking criticism:
Oftentimes, people that aren't part of my culture critique it. I get offended by whatever is on Twitter, but that's only because I care. I believe the people. If you brush off the bad, you can't just take the good.
On building relationships:
Relationships are the source for everything. When you go to college, I think it's 60 percent relationships, 40 percent academics. The people that you're gonna be cool with and meet in college are the people that you're gonna be breaking bread with later. The people that you're gonna be running for president with.
On working to best your previous efforts:
I think that's the only key to success. You know, you can't suffice with what you did last time. There's no drive. You lose your fire like that.
On remaining humble:
The extra attention, I'm not really comfortable with that. I get uncomfortable when somebody shakes when they meet me, 'cause I brushed my teeth just like they did this morning. I'm but a man. I think a lot of artists like to live in that, like, 'You're a God' thing. I'm just a man of the people. I'm an observer. I try to blend in with society, man, and I think that's what makes me me.