Wale was interviewed recently on NBC’s Nitecap, and he dished on his deal with Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group, his relationship with Jay-Z and why his prior deal with Interscope didn’t work out.
Wale, labeled a “socially conscious” rapper by many, defended his alliance with Ross, who’s been criticized for his “trap”-based rhymes and his former career as a corrections officer. "That dude is a genius," said Wale of Ross. "I don't care what anybody say. That's my brother. He's a genius. I've seen him work from the business side, I've seen him work on the street side. People don't know Ross, man. They think, 'Oh, C.O.' I know C.O.s, dog. The dude's gettin' the money doing that other thing. I know that! We come from that. I'm not by any means a trap dude, but I know that. My best friend doin' six, got six left to do."
The D.C. rapper also praised Ross for giving him creative control over his music—and criticized his former label, Interscope, in the process. "That's what the most important thing is: Someone that you can look them in the eye and say, 'I put my heart and soul into this album. I want you to put it out— as is.' I never had that luxury," Wale said. "With my previous situation, people wanted the luxury to say, 'But you didn't do this, but you didn't do that.' ... They tell me 10 things, and I do nine of them, and when their plan didn't work, they blame it on the one thing I didn't do."
Although Wale has been struggling with the music industry for years, supportive words from one of his idols, Jay-Z, have helped him stay motivated. "I was with Jay— I hate to name-drop, but I wanna show my man some love— he mentioned 'Gunplay,' 'I like what "Gunplay" doin'',” Wale said. “Stuff like that makes me...we winning!"
Wale’s new album, Ambition, is set to be released this fall.