And the Maybach Music Group star feels that hip-hop artists are too often lumped into the same categories. With MMG head Rick Ross having faced a major backlash earlier this year due to lyrics on the remix for Rocko’s “U.O.E.N.O.,” which critics believed advocated date rape. In the media furor that followed, the entire genre came under scrutiny for the rhymes of one artist. Also, the N-word debate has surfaced in two high-profile incidents this year: The discrimination case against Food Network star Paula Deen, and following the release of concert footage of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper threatening to “fight every n—-er in here.”
In both instances, hip-hop’s tendency to toss the word around was called into question. But to Wale, that correlation makes absolutely no sense.
“Hip-hop is balance,” he says. “There are a lot of layers to hip-hop. We are not all responsible for what everyone else does. If Eminem goes out there and calls every black person … a ‘monkey,’ ‘n—a’ or whatever, you can’t blame everyone rapping. One has nothing to do with the other.”
Wale has earned a reputation as one of the more idiosyncratic rappers in mainstream hip-hop. He’s also slightly mysterious. Compared to his peers, Wale keeps his personal life completely under wraps. While Big Sean hits red carpets with his Hollywood girlfriend, Naya Rivera, Drake has feuded with Chris Brown over pop superstar Rihanna and Kid Cudi dated a pre-meltdown Amanda Bynes, Wale’s relationship history has been far less gossip-friendly.
But he has strong opinions on women and relationships. And like many stars who’ve gone through the initial wave of fame, Wale isn’t impressed by the bevy of buxom beauties that tend to wait backstage after shows. At least, not anymore. If he can’t have a conversation with a prospective female companion, his interest fades quickly.
“Intelligence is something you can’t fake,” he concedes. “I’m not even talking about [reading] a thesaurus backwards, it’s like; there is a beauty in common sense. Not even to say that some girls are dumb — but some girls are dumb. It’s because they spend so much of their life trying to have the right look or whatever. Some girls are just really smart. There are girls you can have conversations with, healthy conversations with. Daily conversations with, who you can argue and problem solve with.”