On Monday hundreds of hip hop fans packed inside the upper level of New York City’s Soho Apple Store. No, there wasn’t a new iPhone release. There was however an appearance by one of the industry’s most prolific rappers, Wale. The Maybach Music Group artist was next to visit the store in lieu of their “Meet the Musician” series. The list of previous “Meet the Musician” guests crosses genres with everyone from J. Cole to Melissa Etheridge.
It was apt timing for the Maybach Music Group rapper as his third album The Gifted recently debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart following its June 25 release.
“It feels good to be honest,” Wale told the attentive Apple Store crowd last night. “I didn’t use any of my vices so, I had a lot of clarity while making this album that I didn’t have before.”
AllHipHop.com editor-in-chief, Chuck Creekmur, conducted the interview and managed to ask the tough questions including why didn’t Wale move up his release date to compete with two of the summer’s most anticipated albums: J. Cole’s Born Sinner and Kanye West’s Yeezus, both of which were released on June 18. Initially, J. Cole’s album was to be released the following week, but he’d moved it up to compete with West’s.
“I don’t work based on what the next artist is doing,” he said. “It has to mean something to me and the date June 25 mattered more than competing because one of the albums that changed my life came out on that date.”
The album he was referencing is Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt, which was released on June 25, 1996. Not only has Wale consistently listed Jay-Z as an inspiration, but he’s also signed to his company, Roc Nation Management.
The event continued with Wale talking about the evolution of his sound, playing tracks from the album and even taking questions from the crowd. Eventually, he concluded with his definition of what separates being “good” and “great.”
“I try to be great all the time and honestly, I think it’s the desire to really want it,” he said. “I look at someone like [NBA player] Kevin Durant who’s probably in the gym right now. If he could put a gym in his damn car he probably would, so that kind of passion is what makes greatness.”
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