Artist Spotlight: Wale


Olubowale Victor Akintimehin, also known as “Wale”, was born in Washington, DC on September 21, 1984 to Nigerian immigrants. His parents arrived in America five years prior to Wale being born. Though Wale and his family moved to Maryland when the future rapper was ten-years-old, he was mostly raised in suburban DC. He attended Robert Morris College and Virginia State University on football scholarships, and eventually transferred again to Bowie State. Wale fell in love with making music and soon dropped out of college to begin his rap career. He got his first airplay circa 2003-2004 with “Rhyme of the Century” thanks to the help of a local radio DJ who believed in his potential.

In 2006, Wale signed with the local start up imprint Studio 43 and enjoyed a string of hits in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area that year. The internet and MySpace were also big factors in his success, as it helped British producer and DJ, Mark Ronson, in 2007 discover Wale’s many talents. Wale struck a production deal with Ronson’s own imprint, Allido, and released the ‘100 Miles and Running’ mixtape that Summer. Despite not being signed to a major label, he was mentioned in XXL magazine and The New York Times as a future rap artist to watch out for.

After a bidding war that included offers from Epic, Atlantic, and Def Jam, Interscope finally signed Wale to its roster in early 2008. Among his first major label singles the following year was “Chillin” featuring a hook from Lady Gaga. The hit appeared on the full-length album ‘Attention Deficit’ which arrived in November of 2009 and entered the Billboard 200 at number 21. Wale’s momentum was sustained with a featured spot on Waka Flocka Flame’s multi-platinum “No Hands”. More significantly, the first fruit of a new deal with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group was the compilation “Self Made, Vol. 1”, in which Wale was prominently featured. The album’s “That Way” became the rapper’s first Gold-certified single as a lead artist.

Wale’s name in the music industry remained high. He received a boost as one of  several artists on “Ride Out” which was recorded for the Furious 7 soundtrack. Influenced by the TV sitcom Seinfeld but hardly lightweight in much of its subject matter, ‘The Album About Nothing’ landed in March 2015 and became Wale’s second number one album. He released a series of singles that began near the end of 2016 including “My PYT,” which was his seventh Top 20 R&B/Hip-Hop single.

After parting ways with Atlantic, Wale returned in February 2018 with the single “Staying Power”. That same year he also released two EPs,  ‘It’s Complicated’ and ‘Free Lunch’. Later that year he dropped a single featuring J. Cole called “My Boy”. He then partnered with singer Jeremih for the single “On Chill” in July of 2019. Three months later Wale released his album ‘Wow…That’s Crazy’.